Audrey Williams and Amy Crawford, both 39, were among the first wave of gay and lesbian couples to wed on Oct. 10, the day same-sex marriage became legal in North Carolina. They have been together 16 years, and held a commitment ceremony in 2006. The couple lives in Chapel Hill with their three goats, eight chickens and two dogs.
INDY: Tell me about Friday.
Audrey: We drove around the Wake County Courthouse at lunch because we wanted to be around other people that day. But it started looking grim. The Register of Deeds made an announcement at 5 that nothing was going to happen, so we left.
We're in 5 o'clock traffic, and I'm checking my phone. I saw the [news about the Supreme Court decision] 5:28. So we turned around and called everybody we knew. Our neighbors across the street had been trying to get married as well.
- Photo courtesy of Audrey Williams
- Audrey Williams, left, and AmyCrawford of Chapel Hill wereamong the gay and lesbiancouples to marry in NorthCarolina on Friday, Oct. 10.
Take us to that moment at the courthouse.
Amy: It was surreal. I thought, "I'm really in this building. I'm filling in this form." I didn't think it would happen in our lifetime. It was like an out- of-body experience.
Audrey: We had the extra stress of trying to beat the clock. We handed the clerk our Social Security cards. She asked for my driver's license, but I had left it behind. So we couldn't get married. It's 6:30, and the Register of Deeds is open until 9. We called our neighbors and got a hold of one and she got the spare key and got the license. We got married at 8:30.
How did you meet?
Amy: We were at UNC-Greensboro, and we were both coming out at around the same time. I was trying to find a group of people to talk to about it. This is before the Internet, so I looked in the paper and found Lesbian Connections, a support group for women. That's where I met Audrey.
Audrey: We were in that circle of friends for a long time.
Amy: I went on a trip, and when I came back I asked Audrey if she wanted to go out. And that night, things shifted to something more. From that time we've been together ever since, not longer than a week apart. Three years into the relationship, I proposed.
How did you react to Amendment One passing?
Audrey: It was really devastating. We had experienced so much progress. It was less scary to be out. People were less judgmental. When the amendment passed, it felt like a major setback—we're not where we thought we are.
Why did you get married?
Audrey: Financial security is part of it. And we didn't realize it until this week, but it feels like we're part of the club. Our commitment ceremony was eight years ago. We felt spiritually together, but it's not the same.
Last week, we felt a real sense of community. People have their own private lives, and that's not something we've always felt. I hope this will open us up to each other.
Did you consider moving to a state that had legalized same-sex marriage?
Amy: We never thought about moving. We live on family land. We thought about getting married elsewhere, but it wouldn't have been recognized here.
Do you still experience discrimination ?
Amy: We're not comfortable holding hands in public yet, unless we're with a group of people who are.
Audrey: We were on vacation in Topsail Beach, and Amy wanted to hold hands. And I said, "We're not in Chapel Hill."
What do you love most about each other?
Amy: I have total unconditional love from her.
Audrey: I just really appreciate how much we help each other evolve. We are constant companions.
This article appeared in print with the headline "They're legal"