Former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford made a big announcement over the weekend.
20 years after his wife of 48 years, Clare, succumbed to acute leukemia, the 90-year-old former top adviser to John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. is getting remarried… to a man… 50 years his junior.
“Too often, our society seeks to label people by pinning them on the wall–straight, gay or in between,” Wofford writes in a powerful op-ed in the New York Times. “I don’t categorize myself based on the gender of those I love. I had a half-century of marriage with a wonderful woman, and now am lucky for a second time to have found happiness.”
Wofford met his new partner, Matthew, on a beach in Fort Lauderdale five years after Clare’s passing.
“It was afternoon,” he recalls. “I swam alone in the water, attracting the attention of two bystanders near the shore. They came over to say hello, which is how I met Matthew Charlton.”
He continues: “As we talked, I was struck by Matthew’s inquisitive and thoughtful manner and his charm. I knew he was somebody I would enjoy getting to know. We were decades apart in age with far different professional interests, yet we clicked.”
What started as a friendship quickly turned to love.
“We both felt the immediate spark, and as time went on, we realized that our bond had grown into love,” Wofford writes. “To some, our bond is entirely natural, to others it comes as a strange surprise, but most soon see the strength of our feelings and our devotion to each other. We have now been together for 15 years.”
And now they’re getting married.
“At age 90, I am lucky to be in an era where the Supreme Court has strengthened what President Obama calls ‘the dignity of marriage’ by recognizing that matrimony is not based on anyone’s sexual nature, choices or dreams,” Wofford says. “It is based on love.”
He and Charlton plan to exchange vows on April 30.
“We will join hands, vowing to be bound together,” Wofford concludes. “To have and to hold, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part.”