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January 21, 2015

A Conversation with Newlyweds and SAGE Tulsa Participants Ray and Eduardo

It’s never too late to celebrate love! After more than a decade together, SAGE Participants Ray Mahoney, 66, and  his partner Eduardo Saurez, who is 86, were married on October 12, 2014 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

 

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Eduardo Saurez, Serena Worthington, SAGE’s Director of National
Field Initiatives, and Ed Mahoney
 

Ray and Eduardo met by chance, or “destiny” as Ray says, at a local food store one day. Ray remembers being struck by how tall Eduardo was. And Eduardo was impressed by Ray too, so he asked Ray for lunch the next day, and they immediately hit it off.

They love a good road trip and have seen a lot of the country in their years together. Ray remembers traveling to see a space shuttle launch in Florida, only to have a rain storm roll in and delay the big event. They’ve also visited Memphis, where they took the Civil Rights tour and visited Graceland. Visiting Nashville is also a fond memory for Ray, who says “It’s a fun town—there’s a party going on everywhere you go!”

The idea of getting married was initially proposed by Eduardo, who says, “I had to persuade him! But I didn’t argue with him.” Once the decision was made, the ceremony was performed by Toby Jenkins, executive Director for Oklahomans for Equality. The happy couple celebrated afterward at SAGE Tulsa with friends, food, and their favorite music.

A theme emerges consistently in conversations about marriage with Ray and Eduardo: security. They both feel a sense of relief knowing that they’re now legally protected and won’t be separated if they have to go into a nursing home or assisted living facility. Without children or other family members nearby, they are each other’s primary safety net.

Ray’s sister Louisa has been supportive of him, but wasn’t encouraging about the wedding at first, saying “you can always back out”. Despite that, Ray and Eduardo show no signs of splitting up. When faced with marital arguments, they’ll tell you they don’t fight—Ray jokes “you don’t argue with the judge!” They tease each other, and Eduardo says they “kid around a lot, but [we] don’t insult each other.” They agree that mutual respect is the key to their success as a couple.

Eduardo is grateful for the protection of marriage, saying that “If I pass away, whatever money we have, goes to each other. I thank God that we trust each other and get along fine!”

Ray shared a portion of his wedding vows to describe his feelings about getting married, saying that “Nothing can equal having someone to be sure of, having someone to believe in, to share a good life with. At the end there are neither riches nor fame, only past remembrances of the few people we’ve shared spiritual unions with.” He added that “If you live your whole life and you find one person you can believe in and trust, you’ve done something!”

Cheers to Ray and Eduardo! May they have many more adventures together.

 

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As the biographer of Romaine Brooks (All or Nothing: Romaine Brooks 874-1970, University of Wisconsin Press, fall 2015) I am Delighted to see Tulsa Pride on parade. An added point of pride is the outstanding addition of the only known audio recording of one of our great and long-lived lesbian foremothers, Romaine Goddard Brooks to the University of Tulsa's special collections where it will join the letters of her long time lover, the renown salonist, Natalie Clifford Barney. The rediscovered interview is in French but has been translated in to English and transcriped by the amazing team of Suzanne Stroh and Jean-Loup Combemale and will soon be available digitally. Not only does Oklahoma have gay marriage it also has gay heritage and a tremendous primary resource. Both Romaine and Natalie like Eduardo and Ray lived long and productive life's as out queers at less than optimal times. At the time of the 1967 interview Romaine was 93. Treat yourself and read how charming sharp and witty she was at that advanced age. The exact opposite of the fictionalized portrayal of her by author Megan Mayhew Bergman in her short story collection, Almost Famous Women. It features her imaginary portraits of several lesbians. Good to see their names among the living again.

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