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    Married Four Months, Together Eleven Years

    reverendLast October, Cat Byerly and Jill Marimon from Indianapolis came out here to Wonderland, the Point Reyes National Seashore, to get married. October is always such a thrilling time for weddings. You never know what kind of weather you’re going to get, but whatever it is, it will be spectacular.

    On Cat and Jill’s wedding day, Mother Nature did not disappoint. Witness their picture in the dramatic swirling fog. They were lucky in their choices of both their wedding photographer, Julie Weisberg (www.julieweisberg.com), and their officiant, who was not-so-modest me!

    I was moved by their 10-year plus relationship and their vision for marriage. I interviewed them recently about their 4-month-old marriage.

    Rev. Elizabeth River: What feels different for you, now that you are actually married?

    Jill Marimon: The word that comes to mind is “protected.” Cat and I had been together for 10 years before getting married, so we had already built a strong foundation as a couple. But now our relationship is legally protected. If something happens to one of us, the other partner will have the same rights as a married heterosexual couple.

    Cat Byerly: Logistically, nothing much has changed, as we’ve been together so long, but there’s an intangible difference since we’ve married. It still feels like “us,” just “us” fortified.

    Rev. Elizabeth River: How has your outlook on the future changed because you are now spouses?

    Jill Marimon: I am less worried about Cat’s legal and financial wellbeing if something were to happen to me since our marriage is now legally recognized.

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    Cat Byerly: We are officially family now—a team! We’ve already celebrated some amazing successes and weathered some difficult times together. I can’t imagine my future with anyone else.

    Rev. Elizabeth River: Have you had any new creative ideas or rituals since your wedding? 

    Jill Marimon: Our wedding day was very special and especially the public affirmation of our lifetime commitment in one of the most beautiful places on this earth. Looking at the photos reminds us to slow down and take time to appreciate each other and the beauty around us.

    Cat Byerly: We’ve already created rituals over our many years together, but our friends and family remind us with every holiday: “This is your first Christmas married,” or “first Groundhog Day,” or “Valentine’s Day.” It’s a year of familiar firsts.

    Rev. Elizabeth River: Any other comments after four months of marriage?

    Jill Marimon: I want to comment on the tremendous support from friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances we received while planning and even after the wedding. We come from the conservative Midwest, so we grew up with all the stereotypical comments about same-sex couples. So this huge outpouring of support, sometimes from the most unexpected places, was a delightful surprise. That confirmed the rightness of our decision, hard work and love in building and sustaining our relationship—and marrying.

    Cat Byerly: Even though we’ve been together almost 11 years, I’m still experiencing many firsts in this relationship. I’m grateful for all we’ve shared, and look forward to all that is to come. ¨✦

    It is my joy to have married these marvelous loving women. The whole National Seashore is here for everyone! It’s your park, and I am happy to officiate your wedding or renewal of vows here at any time of the year.

    Rev. Elizabeth River is an ordained interfaith minister and wedding officiant in the North Bay. Please visit www.marincoastweddings.com or look for Marin Coast Weddings on Facebook.