This Sunday, May 11, millions of families from all across the country will come together to honor and celebrate their mothers for all that they do. There is no magic blueprint that tells us who or what a mother should be, but we all share important core values: We are caregivers, mentors and guardians for our children.
Being a mother means protecting your child. Being a mother means nurturing your child — and providing all of the care, love and wisdom that you can.
Yet today, we know there are many mothers who live in states where gay and lesbian couples do not have the freedom to marry. These are hardworking, dedicated individuals who are trying to bring strength and stability to their families and stand up for their children. But because they are denied the dignity and protections that only marriage can provide, they continue to face obstacles that others do not.
As the proud moms of two incredible children here in Colorado Springs, Jack and Wren, we know this reality all too well. Currently, our state still denies us the freedom to marry. But on this Mother's Day in particular — with marriage equality in Utah and Oklahoma resting on soon-to-be announced decisions of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, rulings that will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court either way — we are hopeful that change is coming.
The story of our dedication to each other and to our family is one we are proud to tell. We still remember our first commitment ceremony that beautiful spring Saturday in May 2012 — when we stood before our family members and friends, held hands, and announced our lifelong promise to one another.
After five years together, we were ready to take this next step in our lives. It only made sense.
Our officiant — our old friend Bryan — paused in the middle of our ceremony, at the point where it's customary to ask if anyone in attendance objects to the marriage. Instead, he opened the floor to our friends, urging them to speak out about why we should marry.
It was such a powerful moment. And that was partly because it spoke to the everyday struggle facing couples like us. One by one, our friends and loved ones testified to our responsibility for one another and, more broadly, made the case for why everyone deserves the freedom to marry.
We will never forget that moment for as long as we live. But while we were so glad that we had the ceremony of our dreams, it didn't grant us the key protections and responsibilities of marriage.
We have a family that includes two young children. The ability to care for all four of us, no matter what happens, is immensely important.
We have faced the terrifying experience of not being able to access one another in the hospital during an emergency. We routinely have to jump through hoops in order to ensure that our own family is safe and secure. We have separate health insurance plans. Erika claims the children when filing her taxes — that just seems wrong, since we are both their parents.
That being said, today we are more hopeful than ever before. With 61 percent of Coloradans now supporting the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, we know that most people in our state understand nothing compares to marriage in protecting couples and their families.
The U.S. Supreme Court's Windsor decision last June provided federal recognition of married gay and lesbian couples, and it has led to several federal court rulings finding that denying committed couples the freedom to marry is unconstitutional. We believe full equality is on the horizon.
Until then, we will continue going to soccer games. We will continue reading to our children at night. We will continue providing and nurturing and caring to the best of our ability. And we will continue being the best mothers our children could ask for.
Sarah and Erika met in 2006 and live in Colorado Springs with their two children, Jack and their baby daughter Wren, whom they welcomed into their lives in November 2013.