Candy Marcum and Carolyn Hall waited a year after the marriage equality ruling to officially tie the knot

DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer
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Candy Marcum and Carolyn Hall’s first date was at Razzle Dazzle Dallas in 1986, when the AIDS crisis was beginning to hit Dallas in a big way.

“It was a time of war, but we knew how to throw a great party and fundraiser,” Marcum said.

The couple already knew each other from their work as activists when they went on that first date. They had met in 1983, when Marcum and her friend and co-worker Howie Daire held a meeting for prospective board members for Oak Lawn Counseling Center, the agency they had created that eventually evolved into Oak Lawn Community Services.

“Carolyn walked in [to the meeting], and I thought: Who is that?” Marcum recalled. But both were in relationships at the time, so they remained just colleagues for awhile.

As Daire’s health declined due to AIDS, Marcum wanted to help him with expenses, so Hall suggested they get together to plan a fundraiser for him.

“I went over several times and we never did plan that party,” Hall said.

By 1984 Marcum was single, and by 1986, so was Hall. That’s when they planned that first date for Razzle Dazzle, which was being held on Cedar Springs Road that year. The street was closed off and organizations from throughout the community had information tables and booths.

The two women went to the party separately, met inside and have been together ever since.

“We hit it right off,” Marcum said. “It’s magic. When you find the right one, you hang on.”

On their June 15 anniversary, just before the Supreme Court handed down its Obergefell marriage equality decision, Hall and Marcum had a conversation about getting married. Although they could have been married in other states that already recognized marriage equality, Marcum insisted she lived in Texas and wanted to be married in Texas.

Two weeks later, marriage became legal across the county. And Hall asked Marcum, “Don’t you think we should get married?”

Marcum, who admits now that she always had a little bit of trouble remembering the date of her anniversary anyway, suggested they wait until their next anniversary to marry. Now, she acknowledges, that was just a way to hide her fear of marriage.

But the following June, the two went to Houston, where Marcum’s 100-year-old mother lived. They invited just a few family and friends and tied the knot.

But Marcum still has to remember two dates. They met on June 15 and were married on June 17. Easy to do, Marcum explained. There are 30 days in June. Just divide it by two and the 15th is when they met. Then add two and the 17th is when they were married.
Or she could just remember her anniversary.

Valentine’s Day traditions
Marcum, a counselor who specializes in LGBT families, said in the beginning of their relationship, Valentine’s Day was a big deal to her and Hall. Her mother’s birthday was on Feb. 14, as was Hall’s best friend’s. So they’d all go out together.

Hall said they continue the tradition today. This year, although Marcum’s mother is gone, they and another couple and Hall’s friend whose birthday is on Valentine’s Day have reservations at Savor in Klyde Warren Park.

Marcum said Valentine’s Day the last holiday of “the holiday season,” which begins with Thanksgiving, continues through Christmas and New Year’s before finishing up with Valentine’s Day. And while many people enjoy the holidays, many others spend the holidays being miserable. So she urges people who don’t have a Valentine’s date, not to pressure themselves.

“This is not one where you should feel pressure,” she reiterated. “Eat a salad and go to bed. No one will know if you’re out or not.”
But if you’re feeling pressure to not be alone, Valentine’s can be about any relationship — family and friends as well as romantic partners. Marcum suggests those without romantic partners this Valentine’s Day should “invite some over or go out with friends.”

Give out a few small boxes of chocolate, she added, or put up a few decorations, if you like. But, Marcum stressed, “It doesn’t have to be romantic.”

And then on Friday — Valentine’s Day is on a Thursday this year — wake up and realize you made it through it.