For a couple that's been together more than a decade, Kregg Arntson and Ted Fettig are beaming like teenagers in love.
As they sit in their Southwest Portland home, which after months of demolition and remodeling can only be described as immaculate, the two radiate good fortune--not to mention good looks.
It would be hard not to feel a bit jealous. The twosome are a class act of a couple. They've got solid, white-collar jobs: Kregg, 36, works in media relations at Portland General Electric, and Ted, 41, is a regional insurance manager for Wells Fargo and is working toward an MBA at Marylhurst University. They travel to places like Italy and spent part of last summer sailing between the San Juan Islands. They share a love for the same breed of dog as the Queen of England, the Welsh corgi, and have two--Lloyd and Claire. Most importantly, they say, they each come from large families that include their biggest supporters as well as their best friends.
They met in the fall of 1993 at a cosmetics counter at Nordstrom. Kregg, a veteran of musical theater, was returning a product that didn't agree with his skin type. Ted was on the other side of the counter, offering to help. After a brief chat, Kregg handed over his business card, and then they met later that day for coffee. The two wasted no time, moving in together a month later.
When asked if they were nervous about heading into a live-in relationship so quickly, both shake their heads. "No way," Kregg says. "I just knew."
This couple appears to be the image of modern married domesticity, even though the federal government doesn't think so.
Back in 1994, the pair gave each other rings to celebrate their first year together, but they say they didn't consider a commitment ceremony or registering with the county as domestic partners. "It wasn't something that seemed like it was going to make an impact for us," Ted says.
But then came Canada's landmark legal ruling last summer, and the two started hearing from friends who had planned ceremonies. "They all said it was very affirming," Ted recalls.
As the couple's 10th anniversary approached last fall, Kregg and Ted decided to start making plans to be wed in Vancouver, B.C., for the new year. They emailed a few of their closest friends and family, although they didn't expect many people would be able to make the trek to Canada for the ceremony. The responses--21 of them saying they'd be there--were a surprise.
When the two told Kregg's mother about their plans, her reaction was at once emotional and pragmatic. "I've been to all of my kids' weddings," she said. "I wouldn't miss yours for the world."
Two weeks ago, Kregg and Ted hopped a plane to Vancouver with their army of friends and family and were officially recognized as husband and husband under Canadian law.
Though the two hadn't discussed the possibility of marrying in Massachusetts, they are worried about the threat of a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman.
"We're just two people," Kregg says. "We love each other. We're there for each other. Why should it matter that we're two men?"