Former Democratic U.S. Senator Harris Wofford, who lost his seat in 1994 49% to 47% to young Rick Santorum, has announced he will marry his longtime male partner in a moving essay for The New York Times.
Wofford is 90, his partner, Matthew Charlton, is 40. They have been together for 15 years, beginning five years after Wofford's wife's death.
Imagine being married for 48 years and also having a 15-year (so far!) relationship after that.
From Wofford's essay:
Too often, our society seeks to label people by pinning them on the wall — straight, gay or in between. I don’t categorize myself based on the gender of those I love. I had a half-century of marriage with a wonderful woman, and now am lucky for a second time to have found happiness.
For a long time, I did not suspect that idea and fate might meet in my lifetime to produce same-sex marriage equality. My focus was on other issues facing our nation, especially advancing national service for all. Seeking to change something as deeply ingrained in law and public opinion as the definition of marriage seemed impossible.
I was wrong, and should not have been so pessimistic. I had seen firsthand — working and walking with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — that when the time was right, major change for civil rights came to pass in a single creative decade. It is right to expand our conception of marriage to include all Americans who love each other.
Unfortunately, Wofford voted against a measure that would have allowed then President Bill Clinton to end the military's ban on gay service members.