Gay Palm Springs couple to wed 42 years later: ‘I don’t feel like a second-class citizen anymore’

June 26th, 2013 | by Kate McGinty | Comments
John Hedges (left) and Gerry McBride have been together 42 years. (Submitted photo)

John Hedges (left) and Gerry McBride have been together 42 years. (Submitted photo)

John Hedges and Gerry McBride have been waiting 42 years to marry each other.

Hedges, 64, turned on the TV news on Wednesday morning to watch as the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and tossed out the Proposition 8 case.

Hedges ran into the bedroom of their Palm Springs home to wake up McBride, 66.

“We were ecstatic — ecstatic — and we were calling people and texting, coming in left and right,” Hedges said.

The couple met 42 years ago in Cleveland, Ohio. Hedges was working as a promoter at an event and handing out samples of Pringles, a new chip at the time, when the couple locked eyes.

“We just kind of lit up,” Hedges said. “We got together not even a week later, moved in together, then several weeks later moved to San Francisco.”

They filed for a domestic partnership in 1978 when they were living in San Francisco, where they remained until retiring to Palm Springs about four years ago.

As the couple gets older, they’ve started to worry about their federal rights if one of them got sick or died. They worried about the “nightmare” of visitation rights or untangling health benefits.

“It’s been very, very, very stressful. We said as soon as this gets OKed , we’re getting married,” Hedges said.

The couple plans to have their friend Shan Carr perform the ceremony “the minute it is legal,” possibly at their Palm Springs home.

“I don’t feel like a second-class citizen anymore,” Hedges said. “This is so major. It’s huge.”

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