WASHINGTON -- A transgender man made a bold move on Friday during an extravagant White House reception in honor of LGBT Pride Month: he dropped down on one knee and proposed to his partner.
Scout, whose full name is legally one word, popped the question to Liz Margolies just minutes after President Barack Obama addressed the guests, many of whom are leaders in the LGBT community. Scout said he had been planning to propose to Margolies at the White House for almost a year, but when the moment presented itself, he realized he hadn't chosen a place to do it. So he just got down on his knee in the middle of Cross Hall, the main hallway on the first floor of the White House, where dozens of guests were sipping champagne and listening to the U.S. Marine Band.
"I memorized some things but I kind of forgot half of them," Scout told The Huffington Post right after. He listed some of them: "Because the last three and a half years, you have been an amazing adventure. Because you try harder than anyone in the world. Because while I'm a little scared to spend the rest of my life with you, because you're so damn fierce, I'm also amazingly excited about the possibility."
"All I remember hearing is, 'You'll be a better person,'" Margolies said.
Margolies, who is executive director of the National LGBT Cancer Network, said she has long been opposed to the institution of marriage. She even sent Scout an article recently about a failed marriage between two turtles.
"Did you hear about the turtles that divorced after 115 years?" she asked.
"She's like, 'You see? It doesn't work,'' Scout interrupted. "I'm like, 'Screw that.'"
Because of Margolies' beliefs, she didn't respond immediately after Scout proposed. Several seconds passed as at least a dozen people gathered and began snapping pictures. Scout said it felt like "about 19 years" passed in those seconds.
"She is crickets. Crickets, crickets," he said. "She's backing away from me. Meanwhile, I’m now on my knee scooting. I said, 'You're amazing. I love you.'"
"All I'm [thinking] is, 'Oh fuck, he's on his knee,'" Margolies replied. "But, I said yes."
Scout, the director of Network for LGBT Health Equity at The Fenway Institute, lives in Rhode Island. Margolies lives in New York City. Since Scout is legally male, their marriage would be recognized just like any other heterosexual marriage. As Scout pointed out, "Gay marriage laws don't stop us, they just impact all the people we love and obviously leave us a little chary about the institution in general."
In the moments that followed, the newly engaged couple hugged and kissed all the people standing nearby who happened to catch the proposal. Margolies flashed her new ring, which Scout said was pink gold and "from like 150 years ago." Asked if she was going to follow through with an actual wedding, despite her objections to the institution of marriage, Margolies seemed to already be warming to the idea.
"I'm engaged!" she said.
WATCH the proposal (skip to 1:55):