Meet the Five Winning Couples of "My Big Gay (Il)legal Wedding!"

Almost 200,000 supporters of the freedom to marry voted for couples from across the country, to win the "My Big Gay (Il)legal Wedding" contest. The winning couples will each receive $5,000 towards the wedding of their dreams as part of our campaign to raise awareness regarding inequality in states where same-sex marriage is not yet legal.

The five winning couples are:

Jeff and JeremiahJeff Robertson and Jeremiah Pyant (Houston, Texas): After meeting on an airplane, the couple catapulted to national awareness when the video of their surprise engagement went viral. Because of Jeremiah's job as a flight attendant, he could literally be recognized as a legally married man one minute—and not the next—as he flies from state to state.
Tamara and MaryjaTamara Sheffield and Maryja Mee (Salisbury, North Carolina): The college sweethearts of 24 years founded their community's first Pride Parade in 2011, and work year-round on issues related to anti-bullying and equality for all.
Rafael and HumbertoRafael Vasquez and Humberto Niebla (Paradise Valley, Arizona): Together for six years, it is especially important for this couple to tie the knot as they've struggled with Arizona's ongoing battle to recognize equality for same-sex couples.
Jeromy and BrianJeromy Manke and Brian Jensen (Reno, Nevada): Growing up extremely religious in Nevada, each man faced anti-gay discrimination and now both are active advocates—along with their families—for gay rights within local government.
Megan and LindseyMegan Smith and Lindsey Wagoner (Chattanooga, Tennessee): In 2013, these Southerners founded the advocacy effort, Tennessee Marriage Equality, because they believe that marrying the person you love should be legal in every state.

These couples demonstrate both the deep love that LGBT Americans share, as well as the challenges they face when they're married but living in a state that does not legally recognize their marriage.

The ACLU will help these same-sex couples go the extra mile down the aisle—border-crossing weddings include a hot air balloon ride from Texas and a carriage ride from Tennessee—into a state where it is legal to marry, highlighting the current inequalities that exist between neighboring states.

The idea of contest may seem like an unusually lighthearted approach to equality, but our goals are serious. We designed the contest to put a human face to the patchwork of state laws that allow same-sex couples the freedom to marry in 17 states and the District of Columbia, but deny other same-sex couples that freedom in the rest of the country.

Congratulations to all of the winning couples. We can't wait to see your weddings!

Learn more about marriage for same-sex couples and other civil liberty issuesSign up for breaking news alertsfollow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

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Anonymous

The bible says Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve What's wrong with this Country . Obama.

ejs

The Bible also says that you shouldn't eat shell fish.

Why aren't you picketing seafood restaurants?

Republican for ...

What's wrong with people who believe that story: that just because some bitch bit into an apple 6,000 years ago that the women thousands of years later STILL have to suffer for it?
I used to be conservative, with one glaring difference between myself and everyone ELSE who's calling themselves "conservative" these days. If I didn't LIKE something I DIDN'T READ THE F'ING SH*T, WENT ON LIVING MY LIFE THE WAY I BELIEVE I SHOULD AND REFRAINED FROM JUDGING TOTAL F'ING STRANGERS!

If you don't like, don't read it and go away. Nobody cares what you think and nobody's going to be what you want them to be.
The end.

Incidentally, the whole gay issue makes me so uncomfortable that I can find no way to overcome it. All I've been able to manage is feeling uncomfortable and NOT saying it's their fault or about them. Instead of blaming them I claim that my reaction is my responsibility and about me.
That's the only way I can find tolerance for anything I disagree with when it's not hurting another human being.
Gay sex never physically harmed another human being the way the wrong people having guns has turned me into a disabled person, has taken my friends' son from them at age 15, has stolen 20 first grade children from their parents. But no conservative even CARES about THAT enough to have a flaming fit.
What's wrong with THEM: I have no clue.

I only hope they either DO have an idea or will get one before thousands more are sacrificed to more gun violence while today's "conservative" is busy whimpering about gay sex.
Background checks are ABSOLUTELY NO THREAT TO LAW-ABIDING GUN OWNERS.
My brother's owned guns his entire life and he has no problem with background checks.

Anonymous

Religion has nothing to do with love. Once you start practicing what the Bible actually says, then you'll see very clearly that it is not up to you to judge anyone. That's the man upstairs job. We are all his children right. Remember that part, or are you just using your "religious believes" to hide behind the fact that you're just hateful? The funny thing, is they aren't judging you... Yet someone who is a person of faith is judging others? I think you have it backwards. Be happy, and share love with those who are wonderful. Don't judge, or be hateful. Just love your brothers and sisters. If you don't like it, that's fine, but don't you dare hide behind a books that tells you NOT to judge or be hateful. Have a wonderful day.

Anonymous

Religion has nothing to do with love. Once you start practicing what the Bible actually says, then you'll see very clearly that it is not up to you to judge anyone. That's the man upstairs job. We are all his children right. Remember that part, or are you just using your "religious believes" to hide behind the fact that you're just hateful? The funny thing, is they aren't judging you... Yet someone who is a person of faith is judging others? I think you have it backwards. Be happy, and share love with those who are wonderful. Don't judge, or be hateful. Just love your brothers and sisters. If you don't like it, that's fine, but don't you dare hide behind a books that tells you NOT to judge or be hateful. Have a wonderful day.

Anonymous

Religion has nothing to do with love. Once you start practicing what the Bible actually says, then you'll see very clearly that it is not up to you to judge anyone. That's the man upstairs job. We are all his children right. Remember that part, or are you just using your "religious believes" to hide behind the fact that you're just hateful? The funny thing, is they aren't judging you... Yet someone who is a person of faith is judging others? I think you have it backwards. Be happy, and share love with those who are wonderful. Don't judge, or be hateful. Just love your brothers and sister. If you don't like it, that's fine, but don't you dare hide behind a book that tells you NOT to judge or be hateful. Have a wonderful day.

Anonymous

I care nothing at all about this, but I care what you spend my money on, which is why I wanted to know about designated donations. Which so far and in an online environment nobody has cared to enlighten me. I've asked several times if you can designate a donation and I still have no answer to the question.
I don't care if the answer is no, but I refuse to assume that no response means the answer is 'no.'
I feel like I need to hear it from someone or see it in an email.
I want my money spent on national security, not this crap. Even if I probably give the smallest donations, I still prefer that they be spent for national security, because that's my biggest concern these days.

Anonymous

I don't want my money spent on churches, or war, or bullshit anti gay crap, but guess what? It is. My tax dollars get funneled into hateful shit every day and I have to suck it up. So, if you don't like your money going for things that IMPROVE other peoples lives, you're just going to have to live with it, like the rest of us. It's sad that you care more about killing people in other countries than education, equality, and healthcare.

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