In November 2012, 52.4% of Maryland voters passed the marriage equality bill. Sara Kulow and Marie Malavé are one of the many LGBT couples that took advantage of this new law. They also happen to be the first lesbian couple to get married in Montgomery County, Maryland. They currently reside in Rockville, Maryland.
We spoke with the newly wedded couple about their relationship and being a part of history…or should we say herstory.
How and where did you both meet? Was it love at first sight?
Sara: We met at work and yes, in a way, it was love at first sight…at least for me. I had been working for Montgomery County Child Welfare Services for 9 years as a social worker. In January 2012 I became a supervisor and actually called Marie, at the recommendation of a colleague, to see if she was interested in working in my unit. However, she was more interested in working in a different unit! So, in May 2012 she started working for Child Welfare Services as a social worker, but in a section different from the one to which I am assigned. I introduced myself to her since we had spoken on the phone. At that point, she was unaware that I was gay. I knew that she was gay because the same colleague who had recommended her to me told me that she was gay. Marie and I did not really interact at all for the first few months that she was working for the county other than saying hello.
Then, in early July I became acutely aware of my attraction towards her. She had overheard me talking to a colleague and learned that I was gay. Once I realized how much I felt for her, I started finding reasons to walk by her desk or “bump” into her. I would check each day to see if she was in the office and would be heartbroken when she wasn’t.
July, August and September passed and we both continued to say hello, but we didn’t really talk or communicate much. Honestly, I was pretty convinced I was not her type. She was assigned to a case with which I was familiar so she used that as an excuse one day to come into my office to talk. ?
Then, in October, she walked by my office one day and noticed that I looked bored. So, she sent me a little email that said, “Don’t look so bored. Just kidding!” I did not respond immediately. Admittedly, I was nervous and elated at the same time. I sat at my desk and carefully contemplated my next move. Eventually, we began to e-mail back and forth. Mostly about our interests, some work related stuff and just life in general. I had known since July that she was “the one.” I just knew. As we emailed back and forth, it became clear that we really connected. As an added bonus, we both found each other attractive! Then, in November, we exchanged an e-mail in which we revealed our feelings toward each other. I knew that I was meant to be with Marie.
Marie: For me, I was attracted to her from the first time I saw her. I didn’t know she was gay, so I just admired her when we crossed paths down the hallway, but I couldn’t bring myself to look at her. I would see her, smile and look at the floor as I walked by her. Once I found out she was gay, I was excited to know, but since she’s a supervisor and I’m new to the department, I was afraid to ask her out. When I got a new case and saw that there was a previous report on it that she had worked on years ago, I saw a great chance to break the ice and went into her office with the excuse of finding out more about the case. Everything I needed to know was really on the report, but I asked her questions anyway. Once we started communicating more on e-mail, and spending time together, I just knew she was the one.
Where was your first date?
We had our first official date at Founding Farmers in Rockville.
How and when was the proposal made?
Sara: One day at the very end of November, Marie walked into my office with a huge smile on her face and her eyes were all lit up and she held up these little pieces of paper that said “I know this may sound crazy”, but will you marry me someday?” Then my eyes lit up with joy and I said, “Yes, of course!”
Neither one of us would ordinarily make such a major decision in such a spontaneous fashion, but we both just knew. We both knew we were meant to be together and neither one of us had any reservations about our future together. We share the same dreams, have similar quirks and interests and we both have a strong desire to be a parent. We laugh a lot together and she has transformed me into a morning person. Who wouldn’t want to wake up early in the morning next to a beautiful woman?
We have both said that we now know what it means when people talk about finding a “soul mate”. Neither one of us really believed in such a thing in the past. As we have gotten to know each other we have both fallen deeper and deeper in love with each other and this has only served to validate our decision to marry. After she asked me to marry her, we started talking about a date. Since we knew that marriage would become legal in Maryland on January 1, 2013, we thought it would be exciting to be part of an historic occasion. So, we chose January 2nd since the courts would be closed on New Year’s Day. In true lesbian fashion, we waited until the day before to actually find something to wear and we did it in about an hour. We didn’t tell anyone that we planned to go to the courthouse that day and get married. It was exciting and moving at the same time to have our special day also be part of an important step forward for our community.
Marie: Like Sara mentioned, neither one of us would make such a major decision spontaneously, but I couldn’t stop thinking about asking her to marry me. It was the best decision I’ve made. She’s truly amazing, and I’m deeply in love with her.
How long have you been together?
Since the end of November 2012.
Were you part of the campaigning for Marriage Equality in Maryland?
Other than donations, we didn’t really have the time to volunteer. Marie was part of helping organize the “Join The Impact” in Baltimore, Maryland. It was the nation wide day of protest against Prop 8 in November of 2008.
When did you realize that you were the first lesbian couple to get legally married in Montgomery County?
We selected January 2nd because it was the first official day that we could marry legally in Maryland. The Montgomery County Courts were closed on January 1st.
It was exciting to be part of an historic day in Montgomery County and for the LGBT community in Maryland. When we arrived at the courthouse, Marie asked how many other same sex couples had been married that day and we learned that, although there had been a few other couples ahead of us, we were the first lesbian couple to get married on that day.
Has there or will there be a wedding ceremony with friends or family?
Eventually we would love to have a ceremony to include friends and family, but at the present time we have no specific plans to do so.
Are you out to your friends and family?
Yes. Both of our families and our friends know that we are together and that we married. We have received a lot of support from our colleagues as well. Everyone has congratulated us. Marie spent Christmas with my family and me. Marie’s family is in Puerto Rico.
Where do you see yourselves in five years?
We would like to have kids. Hopefully in the next five years our wish to become parents will materialize. We would like to have a house and a dog, specifically a pit bull. We both love pets and have two cats, Maya and Pablo currently. Marie is working on obtaining her clinical social work license in order to become a therapist and I will likely remain at Child Welfare Services as a supervisor.
We plan to save the world, or at least a few kids. We look forward to spending the rest of our lives together sharing new experiences, supporting each other, traveling and raising a family.