If you’re looking for something to reaffirm your faith in love (and humanity) in a nation that is routinely overrun by the sentiments of bigoted politicians, here is your daily reminder that when it’s real, love truly has the power to conquer all. Lesbian couple Lennie Gerber and Pearl Berlin are almost too perfect for words. In a video produced by Equality NC and the Human Rights Campaign to mobilize LGBTQ rights advocates to rock the vote, Gerber, 80, and Berlin, 92, both supporters of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, tell their story.
The two have been together for roughly 50 years, but were only recently able to tie the knot in their beloved home state of North Carolina, as the state banned same-sex marriage in 2012. Gerber and Berlin moved to North Carolina together in the 1970s, and in love with their neighbors and community, were set on staying in their state to marry.
While the couple originally married in 1966 in Greensboro, North Carolina, they had to marry again in the state of Maine, where same-sex marriage was legal, for their union to be recognized. In 2012, Gerber, an attorney, and Berlin were plaintiffs in a challenge to North Carolina’s same-sex marriage ban, which they won in 2014.
“When we got married, I wanted us to do it in our own community,” Gerber says, gushing. “Fast forward to the day when we became legal in North Carolina. It’s just amazing. I can’t believe it. We are so lucky.”
The recent video sharing their story emphasizes how efforts to advance equality — and ultimately help other LGBTQ people and couples facing discriminatory obstacles similar to what they experienced over the past decades — stem from voting.
“Every single vote counts,” Gerber says in the video. “You can’t say, ‘Well, my vote doesn’t count,’ because it does! Sometimes elections are very close. You have to go out and get your friends registered, you get registered, and go to the polls and vote.”
After all, there’s more at stake in terms of LGBTQ rights this election than most people think, considering how gender and race have dominated the controversial back-and-forth’s between the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump camps throughout the general election season. Trump has notably promised to nominate justices who oppose the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling favoring marriage equality, where Clinton has come out advocating for expanding rights for LGBTQ individuals. The election will also involve voting for or against officials who have supported discriminatory policies against transgender Americans, such as HB2 in North Carolina, which Gerber and Berlin have come out as vocal opponents against.
The two met in Wayne State University in Michigan when Gerber got a job after completing her master’s program at the University of Southern California, and the rest is history. Gerber says in the video, “We are in love and we tell each other that every day.” *Cue the tears*
Original by Kylie Cheung