These Aren’t Wedding Photos, But They Should Be

Carmen’s Team Pick:

Usually when I write about gay marriage, I function strictly as a good news machine. But the truth is, despite the extreme appreciation for it in New York and what appears to be a slow-burning change in our cultural perspective on gay people altogether across the country, gay marriage is a still not a right afforded to everyone across the United States. And that’s not okay.

Marriage is not always an option for gay people. Still. And there are couples who have strong, beautiful, long-lasting relationships who may never get to see them officiated. In fact, I have at my fingertips “23 Portraits of Gay Couples Who Can’t Get Married,” and even though it is not good news I want to show it to you anyway, because it is such a testament to love.

For example: there are lesbians that have been in love for a very long time and let us view the progression of that time:

And there are these two men who, after all these years, still sit so closely together:

And of course there are these activist lesbians, after all these years:

Gay marriage isn’t something we should be debating, or fighting about, or even talking about. It’s 2011 and gay marriage should just be something we can do, or not do, and go about our day while others do and do not do. But it isn’t like that yet, and some of us are going to get stuck waiting. But for the record, that doesn’t make any of these relationships any less beautiful.

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. This breaks my heart. Every new story from a couple who’s been together for years and years hits me just as hard as the first. :( I’ll never understand how people can be so unmoving in the face of such love and, yes, pain.

  2. I firmly believe that the act of coming out, changes people’s perceptions of being gay and changes how people vote. last Sunday, I was sitting in Montauk talking to a woman and her boyfriend. the topic of lesbians came up.. how they were all masculine, instead of sitting there in silence I said, “you’re looking at a lesbian,” he was shocked.. I am pretty femme by the way. So yes, this breaks my heart, and I think that every time someone comes out, they change hearts. just my two cents on a Friday :) lots of love :)

  3. This broke my heart. It’s so upsetting and frustrating that such a basic right can be denied to so many amazing couples. That first couple, especially, destroyed me. I can’t imagine seeing or hearing their story without feeling some kind of emotion; for that, it’s so important to come out if possible.

  4. “Ed Watson is 78 years old and has Alzheimer’s. He’s worried that by the time the court finally rules on Prop 8, he won’t be able to recognize Derence, his partner of over 40 years.”

    this made me bawl like a child.

  5. Hopefully within my lifetime these couples will finally get the rights that they deserve. This is heartbreaking for sure.

  6. I cried looking through those photos. It’s terrible that this is happening in 2011, we can only hope that all this will change at some point in the near future.

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