Raymond Salow and Thomas Palmer have been together for almost eight years. Palmer is a divorcé and for Salow, this marks the longest relationship he's been in. And while the pair did have plans on eventually tying the knot, last week ahead of the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, the pair legally cemented their relationship and became just one in a wave of queer folks doing the same.
Actress and comedian Fortune Feimster married longtime girlfriend Jacquelyn Smith last Friday in small ceremony that was broadcast live on Zoom as well. The couple told People they had been engaged for over two years, but felt the time was right now in large part because they fear marriage equality might be a thing of the past with the elevation of Barrett.
“Who knows what will happen?” Feimster said. “Hopefully, marriage equality is here to stay. But we wanted to be more proactive and get married while we know we can.”
Palmer and Salow have had a time with the pandemic. Salow lost his job at a Portland, Oregon wine bar along with his medical insurance. Though he tried to get another job, it didn't work out and he's been looking for work while also dealing with kidney issues that landed him in the hospital. The latter point means that medical insurance is essential.
"We initially thought we’d just get into a domestic partnership, which would allow Ray to join my health care," Palmer tells Out. "But, the more we watched as Judge Barrett’s confirmation was becoming an assured event, and in light of not only her thoughts on the [Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare,] with its pre-existing conditions protections, but also the possibility that our federal right to marry might be stripped away, we decided to go as far as legally possible as a couple, and were married on October 22, 2020.
"I was not ready for this," Palmer continues. "It brought up a ton of old anxiety around the concept of gay marriage, my first failed marriage, and a lot of questions around perceived identity and assumptions we make about married couples. Still, I needed to protect Ray and do all I can to keep him safe. So, I’ll process my frustrations in my own time, but at least he will be able to get the care he needs."
In Missouri, Tori Jameson of the group Lot’s Wife and Queer Chaplaincy, shared Feimster’s concern about the fate of marriage equality in the coming days.
“I worry about our rights being rolled back if she gets in,” Jameson told them.us. “But I don’t have a lot of political power. I’m just a community pastor.”
Jameson decided to organize “Pop-Up Elopements” for the LGBTQ+ community and publicized them over social media. Jameson didn’t expect much of a response to the event held on the steps of the St. Louis City Hall October 11 through 15, and was surprised when “a bunch of volunteers” and photographers “just showed up” to help. Jameson ended up marrying 16 couples that week.
Feimster went into greater detail on her concerns about Barrett and the courts, and how recent developments motivated the couple’s decision to wed.
"I'm not going to lie, there were some nerves about the Supreme Court,” she revealed. “After Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, all these people started talking about gay marriage again. On the first day of their session, two of the justices brought up gay marriage.”
Feimster and Smith met in June 2015 at Pride in Chicago, one day after marriage equality became the law of the land. They have been together for over five years, and had been engaged for over two years.
“It definitely got the ball rolling for us a lot faster,” Feimster explained of SCOTUS's new conservative majority.
Regardless of the motivation, Feimster and Smith are now just another happily married couple.
"We're really thrilled and just so happy that we could do this,” she gushed.