Monday, March 16, 2015

Northern Short Course 2015

National Press Photographers Association Northern Short Course 2015: A whirlwind of amazing people, beautiful photographs and inspiring words.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Vicki & Wendy

Partners Vicki and Wendy Thompson do yard work at home in Loveland in June 2014. Vicki took a break to paint her toenails purple.

Vicki and Wendy Thompson met in Spearfish, North Dakota in 1993. Vicki was 29 and had two young children, 5 and 7, from a previous marriage. Wendy was 21. Both women were only beginning to find their identities when they found each other.

"I didn't grow up knowing anything about gay people. Nothing ever," said Vicki. "Two boys from California came walking through our little town and everyone was talking about it for 3 months...It sounds so funny, but it was in the '70s. It's still like that some places."

They moved to Colorado in 1999.

The women look through photo albums, holding up photos from their wedding ceremony.

The Thompsons were married in California in 2008 during the brief period when same-sex marriages were legal before the passage of Proposition 8, a state amendment barring such marriages. At the time, California was only one of two states, including Massachusetts, to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Through a series of lawsuits, Proposition 8 was eventually declared unconstitutional. Colorado legalized same-sex marriages in October 2014 and the Thompson's marriage is now recognized in their home state.

Rev. Hal Chorpenning, a long-time friend of Vicki's and Wendy's, greets them before a service at Plymouth Congregational Church in Fort Collins.

Rev. Hal Chorpenning performed a ceremony for Vicki and Wendy in 2006 at Plymouth Congregational Church, prior to their legal marriage in California. It was only the second same-sex wedding ceremony held at Plymouth.

Vicki and Wendy play outside with their 5-year-old granddaughter, Gretchen, who visited in August 2014 with her parents. Cassie, Gretchen's mother and Vicki's daughter, was pregnant with her second child.

Cassie is Vicki's oldest child and lives back in South Dakota with her husband and her 5-year-old daughter, Gretchen. They visit frequently, often meeting in Wyoming halfway between Colorado and South Dakota.

"In the first year that [Gretchen] was born we went there 13 times...so she's sort of our life," said Vicki.

Wendy said their decision to be married at Plymouth and later legally married in California really helped solidify their family.

"There are so many kids that just need the security of knowing that their parents are married," she said. "It's important, not only for the protections they get, but for the identity of family."

Micah, their second grandchild, was born on October 7, 2014, the same day same-sex marriages were legalized in Colorado.