The Gay Vegans

Celebrating our 19th Wedding Anniversary

As someone who never thought I would be married, or want to get married, I’m still surprised when I write in my husband’s anniversary card, surprised that we have been married this long.

My surprise is joined with delight and gratitude.

I refer to him in the card as “my good and perfect gift from God,” something he began saying to me when we decided to start dating. I think of him in the same way.

Also, my husband is my best friend, my lover (which is also the word I use most when speaking to him), and my soulmate.

I’m a sensitive guywho fell in love, and get rather mushy when describing the love I have for my husband.

We met in church. I sat in the front pew, as always. I find that if I sit elsewhere, I do more people-watching than listening.

He was in the church choir.

When I first saw him, I was like “Oh, my!”

He was off limits as he was in a relationship. I learned way back in my twenties that I should not date or have one night stands with men who are in any type of relationship.

But we became friendly. My rule was to only speak with him, hug him, etc., when he was with his partner.

As things go, neither was happy in their relationship. They were doing what many do, staying in the relationship because it seemed “easier.”

Then life happened, they broke up, and all three of us kept going to the same church. One evening we went for coffee. A sweet kiss goodnight and I realized I wanted to go on an official date with him.

I know, this sounds like high school. But I had never experienced anything like this in high school.

I was 37, and beaming.

The next year we married at the same church, surrounded by about 160 friends and family — blood family and chosen family. Our wedding day was one of the best days of my life.

As marriage for anyone but heterosexuals was not legal in Colorado, we called our wedding a “Loving act of civil disobedience.” I felt so much love in the church that day, not just from my new husband, but from all of those gathered to celebrate with us.

I’m forever grateful for our wedding day.

After the wedding weekend, we arrived home to our three dogs and cat, and we began our married life.

Fortunately, when we had decided to date exclusively, we had what I call the “bomb” talk. Let’s drop all of our bombs now, was my thinking. I wanted him to know everything about me, especially the bad and ugly, as he had an idea of the good. He already knew I was sober, and why, and had gotten a grasp on me being vegan. Three months into dating he became vegan, a little while after going vegetarian as a Valentine’s Day gift to me.

There were no secrets.

Of course there were still secrets. Some took a while to surface. I hesitated to begin that sentence with “of course”, as I’m sure this does not have to be the case. I think during the bomb talk we both were as honest as we could be at the time.

Our lives together have been amazing. I have definitely had my moments,s he has, but this is my story. Over the years, I’ve had to make amends for things I have said and ways I have acted. I’m not sure how common this is in other relationships, as very few people share the deep details of what is going on their relationship.

As federal laws changed for same-sex couples, we decided we wanted to be legally married. We drove to San Diego, and one of our friends married us overlooking our favorite beach. It was beautiful, and so much more than I had thought it would be. I thought this was something we just had to do, and it was way more. Getting our license at the county clerks’ office was another one of those amazing experiences of my life.

We were both giddy.

I know that as we have fallen deeper in love, as I have fallen in deeper love, I have also experienced times when I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue to be married. Those thoughts usually came about around something he said or did, and after a few minutes they were gone.

So now I find myself being married to a man who is still my good and perfect gift from God, and who I am still very grateful to call my husband.

These days we have three dogs, two seniors and a special needs dog, pretty common for the type of furries we adopt. We have fostered close to one hundred dogs for different shelters and rescues, and consider ourselves animal rights activists.

We still vote together, even if it’s just dropping off our ballots at the local drop-off box.

Recently we began couples counseling, our first time. It’s been wonderful for us as individuals and as a couple. I have loved it, even though some of the discussions are not always easy for me.

We decided to do this to find better ways to communicate, and to strengthen what we have as we move forward.

I know many have tried counseling, or therapy. I’m pretty new to it. I highly recommend it, even if you’re a person or couple who has it all together.

Although I do not, and we do not! (have it all together).

I will close this celebratory writing with one last story. On February 5th I had a lung biopsy surgery. My husband brought me in, waited with me as I waited for them to roll me into surgery, stayed in the waiting room, and was there when I came to.

I get emotional writing about this because I was so glad he was there. He held my hand and comforted me, and just loved on me.

He brought me vegan food, and when I got home a couple of days later, he was there, present for me.

I know that’s what we do for those w elove, whether we are married to them or simply close friends or family. The emotional part for me was that this man I am completely in love with was there, right with me.

Go vegan. Vote. Be kind.

About Dan Hanley

Gay and vegan in the burbs (of Los Angeles). I blog about veganism, equality, compassion, activism, politics, spirituality, and our awesome life experiences. The "s" includes my husband, Mike! I want this blog to be a tool to build bridges among communities and to inspire people to get involved and vote.


  1. Maria says:


  2. Christine Geist says:

    You’re the best. happy anniversary. XO

  3. lagomosker says:

    Thank you. Needed a cry for all of the right reasons.

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