By Alan Scott

This weekend I had the pleasure of getting to know an awesome gay couple–R and B–much better (I’d met them a couple of weeks ago). I’ve known numerous gay couples over the years, but what made these guys special is that they’ve been together longer than just about any others that I know.

They’ve been committed partners for nearly two decades now, though they were just recently able to get legally married a couple of years ago. To me this is one of the strongest arguments for marriage equality. It exists as a reality in every state and community and will continue to do so no matter what laws or constitutional amendments are passed against marriage equality. Prohibiting legal recognition of same-sex marriage does nothing to actually prohibit same-sex couples from being married in all but name. In truth the current debate over marriage equality is not over whether or not same-sex couples can be together as life-long partners in a marriage, but about whether or not the government will recognize their covenant and commitment.

Other than being two guys, R and B are just like so many opposite-sex couples that I know. Getting to spend a good bit of time with them was incredible because I was able to watch the way they interacted with each other: how they would joke, poke fun at each other, tell stories, get exasperated, coordinate, and how they complemented each other so well. I think the thing that was the most inspiring was that I could see the length of their relationship evidenced in their words and actions. It’s hard to put into words, but there is a noticeable difference between a couple that has only been together for a short while and one that has been together for a long time. The evidence that they had grown and matured together was plain to see.

I certainly knew that loving long-term relationships between LGBTQ people were possible (contrary to what many conservatives will say) and have met several people in them before, but there was something especially encouraging about getting to hang out with these guys. Perhaps it was because for the first time I was interacting with them as a gay man myself, rather than one in the closet, or perhaps it was just the setting; but whatever the reason I found myself incredibly encouraged. They are evidence that it does indeed get better and that loneliness and celibacy aren’t the doom of LGBTQ people.