Corianton Hale & Keith Bacon
Corianton Hale & Keith Bacon
In December 2009, on the three-year anniversary of their first kiss, Keith proposed to Corianton with a family heirloom ring - the ring that belonged to Keith's mother. They had a long engagement, and then in the summer of 2011, they decided to plan their ceremony for the summer of 2012. They knew that the freedom to marry wasn't available in Washington at the time, but they said they didn't want to let that get in the way. "Marriage is about professing your intentions to your community, and sharing the commitment in a meaningful, celebratory way," Corianton said. Throughout their 2-year engagement, they didn't become domestic partners because, Keith said, "We wanted to hold out for the real deal."
The men were overjoyed when the freedom to marry passed out of both houses of the Washington legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Christine Gregoire in February 2012. "It was thrilling," Cori said. "It felt like we'd chosen the right time to get hitched, and that our awesome state was propelling us forward. It gave us a lot of optimism that the ceremony would be fully legal."
The newly minted marriage law was put up to a public vote when opponents of the freedom to marry gathered enough signatures to try to repeal the law.
Corianton and Keith celebrated with a ceremony from August 10-12, 2012 at the Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort in Leavenworth, Washington. "The resort looks and feels like an upscale summer camp, so we did everything there we could in the outdoors to enjoy the beautiful mountain-y setting," Keith said. "Our goal was to throw the best, most immersive three-day party ever," Cori added.
The guest list was rather short: immediate family only, and friends who were close with both grooms. (Later in the month, Cori and Keith had two larger receptions - one for Keith's extended family and other friends in Washington, and one for Cori's extended family and friends in Phoenix, Arizona, where Cori grew up.)
In the months following their wedding, Cori and Keith used their wedding photos to gather support for the ballot campaign to protect the marriage on Facebook. They asked guests to make contributions to Washington United for Marriage, the coalition to uphold the freedom to marry in the state.
On Election Night, as the results rolled in and things were looking optimistic, Keith and Cori braced themselves for the final tally, which wasn't expected until later that week, since Washington's election functions solely on mail-in ballots. "I was severely cautious," Cori said. "We toasted, danced, and celebrated Obama's victory, but I held out on R-74 for a whole nail-biting day. When Washington United made the call on their website, I finally exhaled and accepted the good news."
Corianton and Keith were legally married on the morning of December 9 - just one day after the six-year anniversary of their first kiss. "The timing couldn't be more perfect," Keith said. "We're really excited to share this occasion with all of the other people who will be making history."
Being legally married is important to Cori and Keith - because they understand that words matter. "I love the word 'husband,'" Cori said. "There is no other word that better conveys the dedication, depth, and quality of my relationship with Keith. I'm honored on every level." Keith also reflected that the freedom to marry represents so many important steps forward for the citizens of Washington and other states moving forward on marriage. "We're really proud of our state," he said, adding, "I'm excited that the tide is finally turning away from intolerance."