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Home » PEOPLE AND PLACES in MA » MASSACHUSETTS (all topics) » Love Does Not Discriminate
Kyle Mackay and Lauren Tardy
Love Does Not Discriminate

Part 6 – A Reversal of Fortune?

By Mark B. Oliver | November 01, 2010

Previous Article in this Series

In the final installment in this series, ONE interviews newly-married Kyle Mackay and Lauren Tardy.

Since marriage licenses were first issued to same-sex couples in May 2004, thousands of couples from Massachusetts and beyond have availed themselves of the opportunity to marry. This opportunity provides same-sex couples’ marriages with legal recognition in Massachusetts, and if the couples reside in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages, such as New York, their union receives legal recognition in their home state, as well. The federal government does not recognize same-sex marriages, so these married couples are not afforded the same federal rights and privileges as their opposite-sex counterparts.

Judge Vaughn R. Walker

Businesses have evolved or been established to cater to this new market, and there is little doubt that the Massachusetts economy and state revenues have benefited as a result.

In California, the right for same-sex couples to marry was overturned by a voter initiative (Proposition 8) that amended the Californian Constitution to only allow marriages between opposite-sex couples. This left many couples’ wedding plans in tatters. Despite U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker declaring Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional on August 4, 2010, the ban is still currently in force pending appeal.

In Massachusetts, attempts have been made to overturn the state Supreme Court’s ruling by amending the Massachusetts Constitution. The most recent effort toward this end was defeated in the state legislature in June 2007 before it could be put to voters. The earliest that another voter initiative could be put before voters is 2012.

Lauren Tardy and Kyle Mackay

Kyle Mackay and Lauren Tardy were married in a Plymouth Unitarian church in September 2010. Unlike many thousands of couples in California, there was no unforeseen development which affected their ability to get married. The couple met at high school six-and-a-half years ago and started to date 18 months later. Over the course of the next few years, the couple had an on-again, off-again relationship before finally coming to the realization that they were destined to be together. Despite being the elder of the two, it was Kyle who was initially reluctant to commit, a situation that Lauren understandably found difficult.

Over the course of their courtship, Lauren became close with Kyle’s family, and while trying to work through some of the issues between the couple, Lauren confided in Cindi, Kyle’s mother. When Lauren, convinced that her relationship with Kyle was over, started to date other people, Kyle found this difficult. It was Cindi who made Kyle examine the true depth of her feelings for Lauren in August of 2008.

“My mother helped me find my true path,” says Kyle, who moved in with Lauren nearly a year later at the end of June 2009. In August, Kyle proposed.

“When I finally committed to Lauren, there were no longer doubts, there was no hesitation, and I knew that I wanted us to spend the rest of our lives together.” Lauren smiles broadly as she listens to Kyle talk and then picks up from her.

Lauren's Engagement Ring

“That afternoon, we went to find Cindi, who was at the beach. I was casually trying to let my engagement ring catch the light so she noticed, and eventually Cindi playfully commented that it was a nice ring, not taking it seriously. After that, she saw the look on my face and turned to see the same amazed, delighted expression on Kyle before she excitedly exclaimed that she had been praying for this to happen. She was so delighted for us, thrilled that we were going to be married.”

When asked why they needed to get married, Lauren is quick with her reply.

“Kyle is my wife. Not my girlfriend or partner, but my wife. We want to have a ‘real’ family — family is huge — not a pseudo-family, not a pseudo-marriage. We want the same last name that our children will share with us.”

Kyle nods in agreement before adding her thoughts. “I feel God’s presence in my life and I want to be united in front of God and, being honest, society does not take couples who live together as seriously as married couples.” Both appear shocked when told of the Williams Institute assumption that no guests would come to any out-of-state same-sex weddings.

“That’s both surprising and insulting,” responds Kyle. “Our families are very supportive of us and our relationship, as are our friends. We couldn’t imagine getting married without them.” As for the possibility of the right to marry being taken away, both are firmly of the belief that their relationship and lives are as valid and important as opposite sex-couples.

“We are equals and deserve to be treated as such. We are just like everyone else, so why should opposite-sex couples be allowed to marry and not us?” asks Kyle. “Surely the right to marry the person you love is a basic human right?”

David Schermacher (left) and Todd Wagar

Dave Schermacher of Ptown Parties seems shaken when asked what the ramifications would be on his business if the Massachusetts Constitution were amended to outlaw same-sex marriage. After a few moments, he collects his thoughts and replies that there would certainly be layoffs.

“It would be devastating, devastating. I would probably close the business sooner rather than later.”

Kofi Jones, a spokesperson for the administration of Governor Deval Patrick, provided the following comment: “The Governor advocated that the right thing be done when the legislature considered the 1913 law that banned same-sex couples from marrying in Massachusetts. Since its repeal in 2008, which Governor Patrick signed into law, doing the right thing has had a positive economic impact on our economy. The Governor and his administration embrace this open environment for the LBGT community and the benefits this has brought to small businesses, which account for 85 percent of businesses in Massachusetts and which employ a quarter of the workforce.”

Despite the Patrick administration’s support, those against same-sex marriage continue to push for constitutional change.”

What would be the motive behind any move to amend the Massachusetts Constitution and ban same-sex marriages? The only people seemingly affected by same-sex marriages are those who are now allowed to marry who weren’t before. Certainly there have been no reports of divorce petitions in opposite-sex marriages declaring the ability of same-sex couples to marry as being the reason behind the irreversible breakdown in their marriage.

With businesses benefiting from the economic boost brought on by more marriages taking place, even during a recession, shouldn’t the needs and rights of the individual outweigh any historical prejudice?

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