Like any other couple with three children, Sean Maloney and his partner Randy Florke had a busy and happy Christmas. What is different in their household is that Maloney was elected to Congress in 2012 as the first openly gay Congressman from New York. But what their kids wanted for Christmas had nothing to do with politics. Their youngest daughter Essie summed it up in a letter to Santa.
“Santa can you try making my wonder-ful fathers get married, they are a loving couple!”
Maloney and Florke have been together for 21 years. “When you’re our age, and you’ve been together as long as we have, you know what your relationship is and you don’t consider it something less than someone else’s,” Maloney told Buzzfeed.
But apparently it matters to their children. “I don’t understand it, I have to be fully honest, why it matters so much to them,” says Florke. “They don’t know anything different, we’ve been together, we’ve been in an incredibly stable relationship their entire lives. Why does marriage matter so much to them? But there’s something about us not being married that there’s a piece missing for them, a little bit of insecurity. They know that it’s less than what their friends’ relationships are.”
Essie and her siblings, Jesus and Daley, got their wish on Christmas Day. After opening all the presents, Florke left the room and returned with one last present: a suitcase. As Jesus was filming, Florke spoke to Maloney. “I’m giving you a really obvious gift. It’s a suitcase, but it comes with a proposal: I want to know if you will travel with me forever and marry me.”
Maloney said yes. The couple will be married this summer.
Maloney, a Democrat, will be the first member of Congress to get married since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and therefore the first member whose marriage will be recognized by the federal government from day one. (Barney Frank married his partner in 2012, before his retirement.)
Already the congratulations are coming in, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who tweeted “Wishing you, Randy, & your beautiful family all the joy & happiness you deserve in the many years to come.”
Photo: Rep. Maloney’s office via Buzzfeed