It’s our ‘Winaversary’ say OK marriage equality pioneers

Mary and Sharon Bishop-Baldwin were the lead plaintiffs in the case that brought marriage equality to Oklahoma. Photo provided.

Lead plaintiffs, and hundreds of others, celebrate 3rd anniversary of same-sex marriage in Oklahoma

by Rob Howard
Associated Editor

Congratulatory messages showered down on Sharon and Mary Bishop-Baldwin today, celebrating their third (legal) wedding anniversary. The couple were the lead plaintiffs in the Oklahoma marriage equality case. On October 6, 2014, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in the case, and same-sex marriage came to Oklahoma and several other states.

Sharon and Mary got married that day. “This anniversary is always special in some ways because it’s our legal marriage anniversary. It feels like this is an anniversary that we want to stand with as many people as possible because it feels like a community anniversary. It belongs to all of us. We all fought for this,” Sharon Bishop-Baldwin told The Gayly.

In fact, it is so much a community anniversary that the couple calls it their ‘Winaversary’. “It’s how we differentiate it from our commitment ceremony anniversary, which is March 26, 2000.

See other stories about marriage equality in Oklahoma:
Lead plaintiffs in gay marriage suit wed in Tulsa
Becoming Brave: The fight to win marriage equality in Oklahoma

“I bubble over with pride, that in these three years thousands have been able to get married,” said Don Holladay, the attorney that took the case to court and appellate court. The state appealed to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear it, letting the Circuit Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality stand.

“I’m proud that thousands of kids can avoid the stigma of having to explain why their family is different,” he said. “It’s a great feeling and such a great path for Oklahoma. Still three years later there are those across the nation that are trying to make these marriages second class or deny them the rights and benefits that all the rest of the world thinks come with marriage.

“The majority of the country applauds this as a basic civil right. To those who are resisting it, I say, ‘Stop trying to make these marriages second class’,” related Holladay.

Bishop-Baldwin continued in the vein of saying this was a community victory: “People, especially on this day, thank us. What Mary and I want to say is ‘thank you’. There were many times during the lawsuit that we felt it would be easier to just walk away.

“We could have gone to Iowa and gotten married and said, ‘You’re on your own.’ But this was for a lot of people. We couldn’t have done it without strong support from a lot of people. They have always been there for us and that’s something special. Their love always kept us energized and mobilized for the fight.

“I always turn it back on the LGBT community and our allies in Oklahoma. It wasn’t just a handful of people that did this,” Bishop-Baldwin concluded.

Happy Winaversary, and Happy Anniversary Sharon and Mary. And happy anniversary to the many other people who got married that day, and the thousands who have done so since.

This is your day!

Copyright The Gayly – October 6, 2017 @ 4:40 p.m. CDT.