THE BLOG

Why We Entered the ACLU's 'My Big, Gay, (Il)legal Wedding' Contest

02/12/2014 07:23 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

Lindsey and I met three years ago through a mutual friend. While it wasn't exactly love at first sight, there was an instant connection. We talked daily and saw each other several times a week, until one day it was like a light switch had flipped and I realized I was in love!

People say that we are polar opposites: Lindsey is reserved and organized and has a very Type-A personality, whereas I am outspoken, extroverted, and laid-back. Somehow the differences in our personalities complement each other to make us a well-balanced couple. We are that couple who complete each other's sentences and who nobody wants to play Taboo with thanks to our uncanny ability to read each other's minds.

Last September I gave Lindsey a fairytale proposal on the bridge where we had our first date. She was so excited that she said, "I do! I will! I mean, yes!" And then I reminded her that I hadn't asked yet. Of course, I then got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She gave me my ring a few days later, at our favorite overlook at sunset. Since then we have been planning our March wedding. Our theme is peacocks and pearls; we want it to be very classy and elegant but still fun.

Back in June we started a nonprofit organization called TN Marriage Equality to educate and advocate for the freedom to marry in our home state of Tennessee. We have spoken at rallies, petitioned to repeal Tennessee's ban on marriage for same-sex couples, and applied and been rejected for a marriage license, and we are currently trying to get involved with the next round of lawsuits against our state.

Last month we noticed ACLU's "My Big, Gay, (Il)legal Wedding" competition on Facebook. We thought it would be another great avenue to bring some attention to marriage equality in Tennessee, which is something that we are passionate about. This competition came at a perfect time to help us shine light on the issue of marriage equality across the nation.

For us, equality means not having to worry about not being allowed to see my future wife if she were to find herself in the hospital; it means being able to file our taxes together; it means someday being able to put both our names on our child's birth certificate, and so much more. We fight for the rights and protections that millions of other "traditional" couples take for granted.

Winning this contest would grant us the opportunity to show our state why marriage equality matters. It would also be a personal blessing, because we are covering the costs of our entire wedding on our own. Lindsey just graduated from nursing school, and taking our entire family to a state that legally recognizes same-sex marriage would not be easy on us, financially. Even though our Tennessee ceremony will not be legally recognized, we want to fulfill the dream that every little girl has of a beautiful wedding with a big, white gown. Sadly, having Dad walk me down the aisle will not be a reality, because he will not be attending our wedding. He is a minister and is worried about what his church will think if he supports this.

This contest was a fantastic idea, as it has brought so much attention and support to marriage equality nationwide. In Tennessee alone, we have already received an overwhelming response from friends, family, strangers, and the media. By sponsoring a national contest like this, the ACLU has raised awareness around issues regarding the freedom to marry by showing how marriage equality has a very real impact on people like us. Now couples from all over the country are spreading the word and starting conversations about why marriage equality matters. Hearing the stories of all these wonderful couples will help break down stereotypes and hopefully lead to a broader cultural acceptance in states that do not have equal marriage rights.

Thanks for your support,
Megan and Lindsey

See Megan and Lindsey's entry in the ACLU's "My Big, Gay, (Il)legal Wedding" contest here.