Congratulations to Ali and Zoë! On Saturday we witnessed and celebrated their Civil Partnership Signing Ceremony at the Richmond Hill Hotel in Richmond, Surrey.
This lovely couple have been together for some time but this ceremony puts the seal on their relationship. In England, Civil Union for same sex partners was passed into law in December 2005. Here is a short paragraph from wikipedia.
We found the entire day absolutely wonderful! To see the families come together and support these two women in achieving their dreams and aims was very special.
Having lived within one of America's largest gay communities (Montrose, Houston) we understand the difficulties facing those who desire to "come out of the closet". Enclaves like Montrose exist because people feel more secure among their own kind. All too often gay teens find themselves ostracized and driven away from home. So it was really exciting to see so much family support.
I mentioned to Ali and Zoë that they have a role model in Houston who has risen through the political ranks of the city to become elected as City Controller - the second most important position after the Mayor. I worked with Annise Parker during the 1990s. In 1997 Annise ran for City Councillor At Large and came a distant second in the first poll. The candidate with the most votes did not have more than 50% so there was was a run-off. The well organized gay community turned out in strength and Annise romped home. Her election to Controller in 2003 was based simply on her positive record - by this time she had earned the respect of the community at large. As wikipedia mentions, she is a possible mayoral candidate in 2009. Imagine that, a lesbian mayor for America's fourth largest city, located deep in the Bible Belt!
And this is really the point of my digression. There is absolutely no doubt that Ali and Zoë are great people but they will be even greater for their openness and full expression of the love and caring they have for each other.