On October 11, 2008, Tony and Jim were one of the fortunate 13,000 couples to be legally married in California before the passage of Proposition 8. The joint ceremony—Tony’s uncle Alberto also married his partner of 30 years, Brian—was the first same-sex wedding at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, CA, a beautiful celebration attended by over 200 of their family and friends.
The couple met in 2002 while playing volleyball. “I remember seeing him on the court and thought he was not only handsome, but also had a ‘live’ energy about him,” Jim recalls. “I knew I definitely wanted to go out with him. As for who asked whom, there is still some debate amongst us on that.”
Growing up in a military family, Tony has lived all over the world, and settled in Denver in 2000. He now works for the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. Jim moved to Colorado from Central Minnesota when he was 19. After managing restaurants for a few years, he relocated to Denver, and now makes a living as an accountant.
An active couple, they enjoy the variety of outdoor activities that Colorado has to offer. Tony is also very involved in community affairs, and serves as an appointee by Governor Hickenlooper on the Colorado Governor’s Council for Physical Fitness, an appointee by Mayor Hancock on the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs, the Co-chair of the Denver Outgames, and the Brand Advocate Co-chair for the 2014 Gay Games, to name just a few!
While the couple has no children of their own, they have hosted three foreign exchange students over the years. “They were wonderful and what we discovered is that generally, high school kids just want to experience another country,” says Jim. “The fact that we happen to be a same-sex couple is merely incidental.”
Even though Tony and Jim were married in California, their commitment to each other is not legally recognized in Colorado. Jim explains: “Even though we’ve done all that we can to legally protect ourselves, civil union legislation would strengthen our legal protections and fill in some of the gaps.” Gaps that, in the event of an emergency, could mean that they may not be able to make important decisions about inheritance or medical care for one another.
The couple is eagerly looking forward to celebrating 10 years together this fall. “I don’t know what I’d do without Jim in my life,” says Tony. “My wish for everyone is to find someone as amazing as Jim.”