Inside the house with the red door and silver wreath, biscuits were baking, Dean Martin was crooning and two newlyweds were stealing kisses in the foyer as they began their first Christmas as a married couple.
Amy Fowler and Pidge Winburn are wife and wife.
The women are still getting used to saying that. After all, it’s hardly been three days.
"It feels really weird calling her my wife, saying we’re married," said Winburn, her green eyes darting to find Fowler’s blue ones. "But it also feels really cool."
Christmas this year brought the warm consistency of tradition, of family and friends, of food and gifts and decorations hung with care.
But it also brought the realization that in the five days since U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby overturned Utah’s ban on same-sex marriages, so much had changed — for Fowler, 35, and Winburn, 37, and for hundreds of other gay and lesbian couples throughout Utah.
"For me, it wasn’t about being able to say ‘oh, now we’re married,’ or having the piece of paper to prove it," Winburn said. "It’s about equal rights. It’s about being able to put [Fowler] on my health insurance and have a joint bank account and a house and be a legally recognized family. Now we are."
Down on one knee • From day one, Fowler and Windburn’s relationship has been something of a whirlwind.
They met three years ago at The Garage, a bar in Salt Lake City where Winburn worked.
Fowler, a short, dynamic woman with bright eyes and an easy smile, had slipped Winburn her phone number after some prodding from her friends.
Winburn never called.
Weeks later, Fowler returned to the bar and gave Winburn an ultimatum: "Seems to me you’ve got two choices," said Fowler, who was there celebrating her graduation from the University of Utah’s law school. "You can give me your phone number so I can call you, or you can tell me you don’t want to hear from me and I’ll leave you alone."
Winburn smiled. She gave Fowler her phone number and bought her a beer.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Just one day later, Winburn tagged along to meet Fowler’s family. She played golf with her mom, ate dinner with her dad.
"We were stuck with each other after that," Fowler said Wednesday.
So, when the news broke that same-sex couples were being issued marriage licenses in Salt Lake County on Friday, mere minutes after Shelby ruled Utah’s Amendment 3 unconstitutional, the women decided to take a chance.
Fowler found Winburn at work.
She knew Winburn wasn’t sold on the idea of marriage. Winburn had dismissed it for three years.
But on Friday, Winburn got down on one knee.Next Page >
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