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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 7, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 49
A match made in... Arizona
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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A match made in... Arizona

Finally, it's real wedding bells for Seattle couple Stephen Lloyd and Scott Shurtleff

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Guy places ad in newspaper. Another guy reads it, then responds. They meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after. This is the story of Stephen Lloyd and Scott Shurtleff, who met in June 1998 and will be married on December 9 at Seattle First Baptist Church. Although the couple has already tied the knot in Canada, and also joined hands at a commitment ceremony in their former hometown of Phoenix, this time it's the real thing.

'NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, I KNOW HE'S GOING TO BE THERE'
'I actually gave Scott a promise ring that I had bought many, many years prior, thinking, 'I will give this to someone, someday,' says Lloyd when asked to recall the moment he knew that he'd finally met his true love.

His partner offers a bit more insight into their relationship's early days.

'From my perspective, I had dated and it seemed like everyone that I had dated was flaky,' states Shurtleff. 'When we started dating I said, 'You know, this is fine but I'm not committing to anything. If it ever goes beyond this, then I want to go to counseling - I want to make sure that we have no issues that are going to crop up two years, five years, from now.' So we did the whole traditional marriage counseling thing and after about six or twelve visits the counselor said, 'You know, we've talked about absolutely everything.'

Shurtleff continues, 'I think for me it was just that this person was so compatible with me and there was a connection and this feeling that no matter what happens I know he's going to be there, because I'm a whole lot to handle most of the time. So, that was when I knew. I would say it was about six months in.'

'REALLY SURPRISED' R-74 PASSED
Similar to many others' reactions, Lloyd and Shurtleff were both excited and somewhat shocked by the election results.

'Personally, I was not optimistic at all coming from Arizona, which is a very red state,' says Shurtleff. 'I really was surprised that it [Referendum 74] passed.'

Lloyd shares his thoughts: 'A little bit of disbelief. As the numbers were coming in, we're like, 'Is this actually happening?!'

'FINALLY A SENSE OF LEGITIMACY'
They've been through this before, yet Lloyd and Shurtleff easily separate their upcoming wedding from their previous one and their commitment ceremony. The emotions are already settling in.

'I think the feeling that I'm going to have, because I'm already starting to feel it, is finally a sense of legitimacy,' states Shurtleff. 'It's all well and good to have a commitment ceremony, but it doesn't mean anything, other than to your friends and people that were there.'

Lloyd adds, 'We've been wearing wedding rings for 13 years. But this is more about legal bindings and to finally say 'my husband.'

Neither of the men's relatives will be present at the December 9 ceremony, in which 100 couples will enter into holy matrimony. With the exception of a few nieces and nephews on each side, their relationship is not accepted by their families.

'I LIVE IN SEATTLE, I'M GAY, AND NO ONE CARES'
When the couple moved to the Emerald City four and a half years ago, they left behind a place that was very different than this open-minded neck of the woods.

The rainbow flag on their house was torn down several times and the rainbow sticker on their car was peeled off. As one of the men remembers, 'Nobody ever left a note, we never knew who did it, but it was clear enough that they didn't want us there in what we would consider a very open, friendly, accepting neighborhood - or what we thought was.'

Seattle is a new chapter, however. This is now home for Lloyd, a website programmer, and Shurtleff, an operations manager for a small nonprofit on Capitol Hill.

'It still floors me when I'm walking downtown and see two men or two women holding hands,' relays Shurtleff. 'Always in the back of my mind I'm like, 'Okay, who's ready to pounce and beat the hell out of these people?' because that's where we came from.

'My experience is fairly limited because I grew up in Arizona, so the comparison between the two is very different. But one thing that we started to notice when I started slowly coming out to neighbors and people at work, once I'd been here a few months, is I'd say something like 'Oh, I live with another man' to someone here and it was as if I had said nothing at all.'

'It was a blank stare, like 'OK,' adds Lloyd.

'I just keep saying the phrase, 'I live in Seattle, I'm Gay, and no one cares. It's not an issue,' reaffirms Shurtleff.

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Deep Inside Hollywood: Tina Fey, Fortune Feimster star in new work
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A Christmas Carol for musical theater fans
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Teresa Guajardo and Tina Roose
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Making a Gayby
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Frank Ocean nabs six Grammy nominations
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Northwest News
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Letters
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A match made in... Arizona
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Teresa Guajardo and Tina Roose
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Margaret Witt and Laurie Johnson
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Lynn Grotsky and Lisa Brodoff
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