Victor Flores married Greg Hardy amid the twinkling lights and Broadway posters of New York's Times Square in April, not three months before doctors diagnosed Greg with stage 4 colon cancer that has since metastasized to his liver.
"He was adamant about getting married in a state that acknowledged marriage," Flores, of Fort Lauderdale, recalls in a statement beneath the resulting photo, a nighttime shot capturing the men in an embrace, foreheads pressed together. "In the same half of the year, we have had the happiest moments of our life and the most trying moments. I love him, and right now that is all that matters."
At the Pride Center at Equality Park in Wilton Manors, the walls are adorned with similar images of married same-sex couples for photographer Jane Kreinberg's new exhibit, "We Do, Too!" An assemblage of 24 shots snapped out of state — gay marriage is illegal in Florida — the display shows local couples in wedding gowns and tuxedos at their most jubilant, cherishing the moment in settings as disparate as staid-looking courthouses and sunny Cancun.
Kreinberg, whose show is sponsored by the LGBT nonprofit ArtsUnited and opened Sept. 13, says the exhibit spun off from a photograph she took at her niece's wedding in Chicago. Rebecca Stypka and her new wife, Kathleen, are shown hoisting their wedding bouquets in a moment of triumph.
"They walked in together, and they just looked so incredibly joyful, and I was really pleased I could capture a moment like that," recalls the Fort Lauderdale photographer, who later solicited wedding photos from LGBT couples living in Broward. "At first, I thought the show would be less relevant after the Supreme Court's [Defense of Marriage Act] decision came down. But then, I realized that only parts of it have been ruled unconstitutional. We are still fighting to have legal marriage in Florida."
Begun as a tribute to same-sex marriage, Kreinberg says the exhibit quickly became politicized after couples who sent their photos added statements excoriating the lack of equality in the Sunshine State. In an outdoor shot, Dennis Godfrey and Steve DeJong, owners of Humpy's Pizza in Wilton Manors, are framed amid rows of pink flowers. Below the image, they write, "We were still very much second-class citizens in our new home."
Several statements are defiant. Beside the photograph of Pier Guidugli and Tom Fillmore, shown in an outdoor ceremony, is their message: "I do not believe in the institution of marriage, per se, but when a political party, a church … tells me I am banned from one of their institutions, that's when I want to join it."
Guy Le Houx, who has dual citizenship in the United States and Canada, decided to marry his partner, Barry Dotson, in Quebec. Their photograph shows the pair, arms intertwined, sipping champagne at a French restaurant.
"Marriage and marriage rights are accepted coast to coast in Canada. In America, it's piece by piece," says Le Houx, 62, of Oakland Park. "I simply get more rights and benefits in Canada. But the happiness of holding a piece of paper that says you're married also expresses a form of liberation."
We Do, Too!
When: Through Sept. 30
Where: The Pride Center at Equality Park, 2040 N. Dixie Highway, Wilton Manors
Cost: FreeCopyright © 2015, South Florida