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Who got us here: Plaintiffs Kody Partridge and Laurie Wood

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Kody Partridge and Laurie Wood are two of the plaintiffs pushing Utah to drop its anti-gay marriage laws. Both call Utah home, though Wood was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho and Partridge is from Montana, moving to Utah in 1984.

Both earned Masters degrees in English from Brigham Young University.

They met in 2010, after many mutual friends had insisted they meet for years, at the Equality Utah Allies Dinner.

“Laurie will tell you that I shamelessly chased her,” Partridge said. “Perhaps I did, but oh well, here we are. I made her dinner. We talked for hours, and both of us decided that we should reconvene for another conversation. She shared her apricot jam, so I just had to make her breakfast a couple of days later.”

“If you only knew how delicious her jam is,” Partridge laughed.

The pair joined the suit in March, 2013, after a friend asked them. Their friend and her partner had wanted to join the suit, but were already married in New York.

“Laurie said yes immediately, so we discussed the ramifications and decided that it was too important not to add our names as plaintiffs,” Partridge said. “We had to make our decision within four days, but we have never looked back.

From the beginning, the couple had the support of friends and community.

“Laurie’s brother immediately lent his support, as did his wife and family. I was timid,” Partridge said. “However my father, who is almost 82, hugged Laurie and me when he learned that we had married, and one of my sisters conveyed her respect and love for the two of us.”

They married after District Judge Robert Shelby’s decision.

“Laurie and I decided to seize the moment,” Partridge said. “We had already sold our respective houses so that we could build a life together. We had shared stories with each other. We had exchanged rings and planted a garden together. So, when the news arrived, Laurie immediately set her grading aside and I left the grocery bags on the kitchen table, and we went to the clerk’s office to apply for a marriage license a second time —but this time with the blessing of a federal judge. It was magical.”

As being a part of a historical moment in Utah, Wood said, “We’re not sure whether the historical impact has really registered. Kody announces the good news everywhere we go, and her news is received with love and thanks. I feel humbled when someone gives thanks or shares a personal story. We both laugh when we see ourselves in the New York Times or on MSNBC — it’s pretty surreal.”

“But I think we can honestly say we’re so proud to represent (if that’s what we’re doing) the LGBT community of Salt Lake and of Utah,” Wood continued. “So many others have worked to make this city a great place for us to live, and we’re happy if our actions help make others’ lives happy as well.”

“I hope that those who have married and those who know someone who married will keep the joy in their hearts. If we approach this change in our state with love and goodwill we certainly will prove the governor and the state attorneys wrong; we will make Utah the great state we love,” Wood said. “We all should be more like Kody and celebrate the love with everyone we know.”

Michael Aaron

Michael Aaron is the editor and publisher of QSaltLake. He has been active in Utah's gay and lesbian community since the early 80s and published two publications then and in the 90s.

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