The Rapidian

Stay issued on gay marriage case, forces local couples to make new plans

Edward McPeak and his fiancé are making alternate marriage plans while the Michigan case is sent to an appeals court.


The author had previously known this couple before conducting the interview. 

West Michigan LGBTQ individuals show up at West Michigan Pride

West Michigan LGBTQ individuals show up at West Michigan Pride /Scott Trumbo

Churches like Saint Mark's in downtown show their support by hanging a rainbow flag

Churches like Saint Mark's in downtown show their support by hanging a rainbow flag /Scott Trumbo

One West Michigan gay couple is determined to pursue marriage regardless of the court ordered stay that is in place.

Edward McPeak and his fiancé, who has chosen to remain anonymous due to a lack of laws protecting from workplace discrimination, have been engaged since 2013 and plan on seeking an out of state marriage license.

“It is legal [in Chicago], so when we do bring that marriage license back to Michigan the state won't recognize it, but the federal government will. We will have to file five tax forms instead of the amount that is needed from traditional marriage,” says McPeak. 

One of the struggles they have faced so far is learning how to file the correct documentation. The issue of health insurance and laws governing inheritance are typically some of the most difficult to navigate for gay couples. 

For them marriage is just a term, if it was called a civil union or any other title it would be equally validating. Their main concern is getting the same benefits as a couple in traditional marriage. 

According to a Gallop poll, same sex marriage has steadily been gaining acceptance since 1996. There is now over half the U.S. in support of same sex marriage, and the trend shows that it will be most likely increasing in acceptance. 

"Luckily, we both have great friends and family which have made it comfortable so far to get to this point," says McPeak's fiancé. 

They attribute the support of their friends and family for allowing them to get to the point they are at today. However, dealing with the topic of same sex marriage can be a source of awkwardness.  

“One of the pressures I put on myself is that I know I am different from my siblings, so I shy away from that [marriage],” says McPeak. 

While he says he is not afraid to bring it up in his family, he appreciates the openness of his fiancé's family. The plans for the wedding are still being debated by the couple. There is a disagreement about the size and scope of the wedding, but it is both agreed that it should be a celebration. 

“I do want it to be a celebration, it is the joining of two people’s lives whether it’s a legal thing, or something more to somebody else,” says McPeak.

McPeak would prefer a smaller ceremony, but his fiancé would prefer a larger wedding. The decision on the size and scope of the wedding has yet to be decided. There is the issue of who will pay for the wedding. In most traditional marriages it is customary for the bride's family to help pay for the wedding, but being a  gay couple redefines age old tradition. For them the decision to finance their own wedding seemed the most appropriate. 

"I feel like he is going to have a lot of these times where he is going to want these decisions on this, this and this, let me have your input and I will be like ‘ok,’" says McPeak about the wedding. 

Many details have yet to be decided, but the couple is happy to be going into this next voyage together. 


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