Like most people paying attention to the Illinois legislature as it passed a bill Tuesday legalizing marriage equality, Lowell Jaffe probably knew the night would be an important moment for the history of the state, and the history of the gay rights movement.
But he probably didn’t realize it would an important moment for the story of his life.
Following two votes in the state House and Senate to authorize the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, Jaffe’s longtime partner, state Rep. Sam Yingling, proposed at a reception held at Governor’s Mansion. BuzzFeed reporter Tony Merevick captured the speech on video, one that surely would have made Nora Ephron proud. (Think the end of When Harry Met Sally.)
“I love that it takes you an hour to tell a 30-second story; I love that you care more about other people than yourself,” said Yingling. “I love you so much, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
And then came the ring.
“Oh my god,” said Jaffe.
The crowd began to clap, including Gov. Quinn, who on Wednesday pledged to sign the bill sometime this month. Yingling shouted over the cheers, “I want to hear it, will you marry me?”
“Yes, yes, yes,” was Jaffe’s response.