After meeting in August 1994, Peg and Jackie Campbell were married in 1997, taking their vows as man and wife.
But this wasnâ€™t your average star-crossed love story.
Only years after their marriage, Jackie Campbell began her transition from woman to man, making their marriage today one between a trans woman and woman, legal in the state of Colorado.
â€œIâ€™m not kinda sorta married. I am married,â€ she said to the crowd at the Freedom to Marry Day rally Saturday. â€œThis is one they have to recognize. They canâ€™t annul our marriage, and they canâ€™t make me go away.â€
Jackie Campbell and other members of the GLBT community and their allies took to the streets Saturday as a part of Freedom to Marry Day, marching for â€œbasic human rights,â€ said Andy Stoll, executive director of the Lambda Community Center said, including the right to marry.
Signs in hand, a crowd of nearly 100 people walked along College Avenue, their chants rising above the honking of passing cars and the cheers of those passing by.
â€œGay, straight, black or white. Marriage is a human right,â€ members of the march yelled. And for those in attendance, it was this emphasis on the fact that these are human rights that was the message from this event.
â€œEquality under the law is not a privileged right,â€ said John Case, a board member of the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and the father of a gay son, speaking to the crowd in Old Town Square.
â€œWe will not quit until we see real equality for this entire community,â€ he said.
Lalery Mayo, partner and fiancÃ© of Caseâ€™s son Gabe, said it was this basic denial of rights that needed to be looked at.
â€œOur rights have only been denied because we love someone different, or thatâ€™s what they like to think,â€ he said.
A tradition 11 years in the making, the Freedom to Marry Day was created by a youth group from the Unitarian Church in hopes of raising awareness for same-sex marriage among other GLBT rights.
Members of that church stood in attendance Saturday, holding signs that illustrated not only their stance but that of those in attendance: â€œDifferent people. Different beliefs. One Faith.â€ And it was the acknowledgement of these differences that many at the rally hoped to call attention to.
â€œPeople arenâ€™t likely to change their viewpoint if theyâ€™re not aware of the situation,â€ Muniz said.
Molly Hall-Payne, who marched with her wife of three years and partner for 10 years, echoed that sentiment.
â€œIf people donâ€™t see us or have connections to this community, they wonâ€™t think about it and remember to support us,â€ she said.
She said she got involved because for her, this event was a great way to show Fort Collins this community is here and still fighting for their rights.
It was this change of labels from â€œthe right to marryâ€ to â€œhuman rightsâ€ that made this yearâ€™s rally that much more universal in what it hoped to change, Stoll said.
Rather than â€œpigeon-holingâ€ themselves into the label of marriage rights, this change to human rights is something that all GLBT groups should do nationally, he said.
Chris Poirier Jr., a CSU alum and rally attendee, said this new label made the movement harder to deny by their opposition.
â€œItâ€™s hard to say youâ€™re against it because no one is against human rights,â€ he said.
In a collective tally of the number of years that GLBT couples and families have been together, there were 253 â€œyears of lovingâ€ from the couples at the event, and as Esther Lobato, a board member of the Lambda Community Center, reminded the crowd, there were even more couples in Fort Collins not counted.
A show of devotion from these relationships, it was this illustration of love and commitment from GLBT couples that seemed to encapsulate the dayâ€™s overarching message of hope for equality in the future.
Assistant Design Editor Alexandra Sieh can be reached at email@example.com._