Wedding Bells

Lead Plaintiffs In IL Marriage Equality Lawsuit Will Finally Marry After 50 Years Together

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Jim Darby and Patrick Bova

After over 50 years together, Chicago couple Jim Darby, 81, and Patrick Bova, 76, will finally be legally wed after successfully fighting against the Illinois marriage equality ban with the help of Lambda Legal.

In an interview with The Huffington Post in celebration of their forthcoming nuptials at Chicago’s Museum Of Contemporary Art, Darby shares his pickup tips, opens up about being a gay veteran, and Bova has some very prescient advice for the gays of today who are living in a time when marriage is a real option.

Ever the aggressor, Darby saw Bova walking down the street on Chicago’s South Side in 1963 and whistled at him. Though Bova didn’t hear it, Darby later ran into him again at a bookstore near the University Of Chicago:

But about 10:30 at night, Darby saw him again, peering into a bookstore window. Darby walked up and asked, “Do you have a light?” “I thought to myself that is a corny line!” Bova remembered. “On the other hand, that was a fail-safe line in those days because most people smoked.” “And that was it,” Darby said. By that September, Darby had landed a teaching job at a South Side high school and they were living together in Bova’s apartment. They were “as for-keeps as possible, given our circumstances,” Bova said.

Darby’s aggressiveness wasn’t just used to pick up the love of his life. As a veteran of the Korean War, he was also a vocal advocate and activist against the U.S. Military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and was arrested protesting it at the White House in 1993:

“The plan was to sit down and not move,” Darby said. “The policeman said, ‘You’re going to get up or I will pick you up.’ I said, ‘Honey, you can pick me up anytime you want!'” He put on white gloves — in those days, any interaction police had with gay people they would wear gloves — and two of them picked me up, carried me away and I was thrown in the paddy wagon.”

As for any tips they might have for younger gays, those of you who think that boyfriend you had for eight months back in 2012 qualifies as a long-term relationship, Bova has advice for you:

“Take the long view…You don’t have to get married, but you now can, and that puts a whole different light on how you interact. You want to not think of this as two weeks or two months, but as years down the line.”

Congrats to Mr. Darby and Mr. Bova.  We couldn’t be happier for them and it makes us hope that one day we can find something that special for ourselves and, of course, for all of you.