By Maureen Kilian, Cindy Meneghin, Joshua Kilian-Meneghin and Sarah Kilian-Meneghin, plaintiffs in Lambda Legal’s New Jersey marriage lawsuit
August 28, 2014, was our 40th Anniversary in a loving, committed relationship. It was the first anniversary we could celebrate as a legally married couple. It was our happiest anniversary.
The past year has been quite an experience…with a bit of a learning curve for us. We’ve spent four decades off balance. Every time we met someone, went to a doctor’s office, filled out a form, there was always hesitation, worry, sometimes even fear: What do we say? How do we explain? Will they understand? What will be their reaction? This past year, each time the question came up, “Who is she to you?” we simply said, “She’s my wife.” And then the heartbeat wait: What will they say? Will they understand?
What we’ve been greeted with has been amazing and exhilarating. ”Congratulations!” ”That’s wonderful!” It’s unreal how real our relationship finally is to the world!
Simple words: married, wife, spouse. Never a misunderstanding. No need for explanation. Still a little worry about how it will be accepted. We don’t think that will ever go away. But the fear we lived with for over 40 years is gone. We’ve always known what our relationship was and means; now the world does too, and that gives us safety, comfort, peace.
As parents, it is so important to us that our children know their family is equal in the eyes of the law and our culture. They have always thought of us as the same as any other family, but felt the sting of difference because their parents couldn’t legally marry. We were so proud that we stood together, the four of us, as we legally said “I Do!” just as we did throughout the 11-year fight for marriage equality.
We’re still a bit giddy. It’s a bit of an odd feeling, sometimes…a combination of an old – but newlywed – married couple! It’s going to take some getting used to…the world really understanding our relationship. It just took them 40 years to catch up to us.