Carol + Sallie

 (c) Catalina Kulczar. 2014

(c) Catalina Kulczar. 2014

It is a bit poetic, to say the least, that Carol met Sallie at an event for a local Houston-based philanthropic organization called Kindred Spirits. 

Carol spotted Sallie, who had slipped in 15 minutes late, and immediately wrote a note on the event agenda and showed it to the person sitting next to her: "Who is the redhead who just entered the room?". Three margaritas and one first kiss later, the two women haven't been apart since.

Earlier this year, Houston passed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (or HERO) under mayor Annise Parker, who is openly gay herself. HERO extends equal rights protections to LGBT individuals in employment and housing situations. Those calling for repeal have accused Parker of making it a "personal" issue. For Carol and Sallie, they fail to see how that is a valid criticism--of course equal rights is a personal issue; they are, after all, people. And they happen to be two people who have held off on marriage because they cannot yet be legally married in a state that holds personal significance and meaning for them. 

But in the meantime, they'll enjoy wearing what they've affectionately termed their "pre-engagement" rings, hanging out with families who have, over time, come to accept and love them for who they are, and creating memories that will one day slip seamlessly into the history of a legally-recognized union.

In fact, they've already started. That very piece of paper that Carol wrote on when she first laid eyes on Sallie? They had it laminated, the first in what will be a long line of family memorabilia.