All in all, Lucia and LeAnn aren't the kind of couple that gay-rights groups hand-picked to be the first faces of Oregon's marriage revolution. But the story of their relationship gives credence to the notion that same-sex marriages are just as varied as other couplings.
Next week, Lucia and LeAnn, who met at downtown's Western Business College last spring, will celebrate one month as an officially married couple. Lucia, 26, who works as a telephone survey taker and plans a career in the travel industry, talks about her relationship with straightforward confidence. "When you know it's right, you go for it," she says, a practical statement that belies her seemingly alternative lifestyle.
The Philadelphia native, a talker who's not afraid to casually mention that she has psychic abilities, claims she's been conscious of having lived a past life since high school.
She isn't bashful, either, about her participation in the bondage community. Indeed, the rose-and-thorns tattoo that wraps around her right biceps is emblazoned with the title of "Mistress." As for her love life, Lucia says the fact that she's bisexual has routinely sabotaged previous relationships.
And yet, despite such provocative inclinations, Lucia's life is grounded in a kind of spiritual stability. She's attended Christian churches since she was young and now worships most Sundays at the Metropolitan Community Church. "I was taught to believe that God loves you no matter who you are," she says.
It was LeAnn, however, who brought the question of marriage to the table. She's a 24-year-old Goodwill Industries employee who, despite three years in Portland, retains the thick, Southern drawl of her Georgia upbringing. She felt drawn to Lucia when they first met at the business college. When the relationship she was in ended last fall, she didn't waste any time in pursuing Lucia.
They had so much in common, she claims. Both lost their fathers to cancer. Both share the same birthday month, July. They even discovered they lived just three blocks away from each other.
Lucia says she was initially cautious about heading into a relationship, but LeAnn says her partner didn't take too much convincing. And just what kind of persuasion was involved? "You mean besides spending every paycheck on her and taking her out?" LeAnn laughs.
Beyond dinner-and-movie dates, LeAnn provided companionship and helped nurse Lucia through the flu. By Dec. 17, the two decided to make their relationship an exclusive one.
To celebrate Valentine's Day, LeAnn planned to pop the question. Because she had to work on the holiday, LeAnn proposed the night before on the roof of Lucia's downtown apartment. She didn't know how good her timing was: She hadn't yet heard that just a day earlier Mayor Gavin Newsom had begun issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples in San Francisco.
Despite their engagement, Lucia and LeAnn didn't immediately head off to California; they didn't even fall in line with other of Oregon's first couples outside Multnomah County HQ. And just why not? They say they couldn't afford the $60 license fee.
Within just two weeks, however, they'd scraped together the cash and were wed, like so many other Portland couples in recent weeks, without fanfare on the sidewalk outside the government building.
In their still-new relationship, as each day passes, Lucia and LeAnn are learning more about each other. For example, on the sunny afternoon in late March when they sit down together for an interview, they come to discover that both their mothers claimed to be psychics.
Makes you wonder if their mothers could ever have predicted the quickie--yet legal--marriage of their daughters.