I like romance and boys loving boys in my books.
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On June 26th, 2015, love won when SCOTUS announced that same-sex marriage ought to be legal, and thus made it the law of the land. In the United States, finally, FINALLY, LGBTQ men and women were allowed to marry their partners. Many of them had been waiting for years, such as George and Jack in Dallas, TX, who married after 56 years of being together.
Let that sink in for a moment.... 56 years, they waited for their love to culminate in I-Dos, something that het couples take for granted. Het couples like Brittany Spears and whats-his-name who got married on a lark in Vegas with an annulment 55 hours later, couples like Kim Kardashian and whatever-his-name who filed for divorce a mere 72 days after their big fancy wedding. Sanctity of matrimony?
When the news broke this time last year, I cried buckets of tears, out of happiness for my friends who were now finally granted the same rights I've always had - to marry the person they loved. I watched the many proposals, ceremonies, and rejoiced with all of them in the face of their happiness.
I raged with them when the likes of Kim Davis (herself married 4 times) and that despicable Judge Roy Moore decided that they didn't have to follow the law and refused to issue licenses. And fought to have the right of bigotry. And lost.
So, here we are, one year later, and the world hasn't ended, and our globe is still turning, and yet, the LGBTQ community is still being persecuted, hated on, with many of them in danger of losing jobs or denied housing because full protection against discrimination still doesn't exist for them in many states. Still fearful to come out, still being murdered simply for who they are and who they love.
But that's not what this book is about. No, this book celebrates four (mostly) fictional relationships, all written by four gay married men, who all bring a unique perspective to their stories, but who all celebrate love as it should be celebrated.
Flames by J. Scott Coatsworth:
Alex and Gio have been living together for a while. They're in love, but Gio wants to get married, and Alex doesn't. After a massive fight, Alex runs off to cool his heels.
When a fire nearly takes Gio from him, Alex must confront the fact that as his boyfriend, he has no legal standing, and Gio's mother has him removed from Gio's hospital room.
This was actually a difficult story to read. We see Gio's struggle to come out of his coma, while he remembers certain things from their relationship, and we see Alex's bitter regrets and fears.
There were tears I'm not ashamed of, and I'm happy to report that they do get their happy ending - this is a romance after all.
This was a very engaging story that clearly shows how desperately LGBTQ couples needed this ruling, to obtain the legal rights to care for their partners.
Jeordi and Tom - Michael Murphy:
Tom and Jeordi live together openly in the rural South, where gay men are still spit upon, and where families tend to want to pray the gay away.
Jeordi's parents are like that - always trying to steer him away from his "sinful lifestyle", and even going so far as to stage an intervention.
None of that goes over well, of course, and it only serves to fuse Tom and Jeordi closer together.
A car accident sends Jeordi to the hospital where his mother, aided by the rest of the family, tries to keep Tom away. They're not married, you see, and Tom has no rights. Just reading about it made me so angry!!
But Jeordi knows what his family is capable of, and he ain't having it!!! I cheered when he read his mother the riot act - good for him!
But there's sweetness too, especially when we get to see the couple on their own and get a glimpse into their strong relationship. They stick up for each other, and they just fit each other.
There's even more bigotry toward them when the author reminds us that in rural Kentucky the Clerk of Court doesn't seem to think she has to do her job and can invoke her religion to deny them a marriage license. I had RAAAAAAGE again!
But Jeordi is not deterred in the least and takes Tom on a magical flight to Washington, DC, where with the help of a sweet gay couple, they get the wedding they've wanted.
I really enjoyed reading that part of the story and was happy for them.
Destined - Jamie Fessenden:
Jay and Wallace first meet at an LGBTQ group, but quickly forget about each other. Until they meet again, but Jay's not single... until he is, and they embark on a relationship. The author tells us that this is basically the story of him and his husband, and I was fascinated to read it.
It's a sweet story, despite the many setbacks the two men encounter, and it was ever so lovely to read about them. Very enjoyable, and I felt incredibly close to them both, especially considering what I know of Jamie and his husband Erich via Facebook.
Very well written and engaging.
Someday - B.G. Thomas:
Lucas meets Dalton on the first day of Kindergarten, and it's love at first sight. He tells his mother that he's gonna marry that boy some day, and is not deterred when his mother tells him that boys can't marry boys. Lucas will find a way.
Their teenage years aren't easy, especially since Dalton's family is very conservative, but eventually Dalton, who by that point has also fallen hard for Lucas, stands up for himself and his boyfriend.
Still, marriage isn't possible, not where they live, and a commitment ceremony isn't what Dalton wants. This causes some discord between them, but Lucas keeps waiting anyway.
Until the day comes, that sweet day when they can get legally married after waiting so many years.
A beautiful story.
All four stories in this anthology are worth reading, my friends. I'm happy I did.
** I received a free copy of this book from one of the authors. A positive review was not promised in return. **