CAN I ASK YOU A QUESTION?

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THE FIRST QUESTION WE'VE BEEN ASKED AS FIANCÉS

For those who are meeting us for the first time, we're engaged! To say the past few weeks have felt surreal is an understatement. Our journey started off with Ian's proposal to Michael at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC on July 21, 2018, and then Michael got down on one knee a few days later on July 27. Since then, it feels as though nothing has changed, while also feeling everything has.

What's different? Well, there is an unspoken sentiment of closeness and oneness between us now. We both get distracted at work by the new rings around our fingers - Michael forgets what he is typing while composing emails and Ian loses his train of thought at the slightest glimmer from his left hand.

At the same time, we still go on with our day-to-day, making creative new dinners with what we have in our fridge, binge-watching Netflix and spending time with our pups. It's hard to explain, y'all. It's a weird, fantastical and marvelous feeling.

Since our engagement, the first question most have asked has been quite a surprise. It is a question we thought as an obvious no-brainer, yet there was a tinge of uncertainty when asked. So do you think you know the first question most have asked yet?

"I'M SORRY IF THIS SOUNDS IGNORANT, BUT CAN Y'ALL GET MARRIED HERE?"

Not only was that the question, first and most asked, but even before the most appropriate questions (i.e., when is the wedding and can I be a flower girl?). The question touched us in our hearts because those around us want to see the wedding become a reality - we discuss our wedding dreams often. But why is it so confusing for us to answer?

We are both college-educated guys who keep up with current events, and are aware the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision in June 2015 legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. But yet our response has been, "Yes, of course! ... or I'm, like, pretty sure." The surfacing doubts got us into research mode to figure out the answer and where this uncertainty originated.

WHAT WE LOVE FOR YOU - LOVE

Did you know 67 percent of Americans express approval of same-sex marriage, according to a Gallup Poll published this past May? The growing acceptance and the 2015 Supreme Court decision, is why we first say, "yes, of course!" The political climate, especially in the Southeast, since legalizing same-sex marriage is why we then say, "Or I'm, like, pretty sure."

The day after Valentine's Day this year, we sat in our bed recovering from the Flu and opened the newspaper, and felt an overwhelming sense of sadness and fear. Our eyes started to water as we read the headline, "Same-sex marriage would be ‘parody marriage’ under new South Carolina bill." A group of South Carolina lawmakers filed a bill - the “Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act” (parody marriage bill) - which would recognize marriage as solely between one man and one woman and any other union deemed a “parody marriage.”

Our day-to-day lives sometimes feel like a "parody" because of the humor we infuse into each day, but our love and relationship is "NO PARODY." Only within the last year of our four years together, we have felt comfortable kissing in public while living in the Deep South without fear of hate speech or yells we've experienced in the past.

SO, NOW WHAT?

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Before the 2017-2018 legislative session ended May 10, the parody marriage bill was referred to the Judiciary committee to examine. So, we will have to wait. Since starting I Love That For You, many have reached out from all over the world expressing support and love. They have also shared the pain they feel because same-sex relationships are illegal in their country. Our goal is to share our story and illustrate to others that places do exist where LOVE is LOVE.

When we talk with those who have reached out, we always bring up the silver lining that they have found someone they love who in turn loves them back. Any obstacles that come our way, we have each other. And that is when y'all say, "I Love That For You."