How did your love story begin?
Beck: I noticed Juan at gay clubs and around town, but the day we really met was on my last day of work at the Downtowner (a former weekly Portland publication). I went to the Gap to buy a new ensemble for job interviews, and I saw Juan working. I found a shirt I liked and took my shirt off right in the middle of the store to try it on. Juan politely requested I use the dressing room. I politely declined but eventually put my shirt back on. When I went to pay for it, I signed the receipt and included my phone number.
Martinez: I remember Byron taking me to his favorite restaurant, Zefiro, on one of our early dates. We walked in, and he knew everyone in the place. We sat down at one of the best tables and proceeded to have one of the most incredible meals ever. It was a night I will never forget.
What was the proposal like?
Beck: It happened on television. We were at a Basic Rights Oregon press conference on May 19, 2014, which was the day US District Judge Michael McShane overturned Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage. After the ruling, we were asked by Jamie Wilson, a reporter for KPTV, if we planned on getting married. Juan said, on camera, “Well, someone has to ask first.” And that’s when I said, “Juan, would you like to get married?” Juan said yes. I started to cry. Juan started to cry. Jamie started to cry. Even the cameraman started to cry.
Martinez: We played a film of the proposal during our wedding ceremony and made everyone cry again!
How significant was it to get married and be able to call each other husband?
Beck: Juan and I were the lead plaintiffs in Martinez v. Kulongoski, the court case that attempted to overturn voter-approved Ballot Measure 36 that excluded same-sex marriage in Oregon. We lost that case at the county and appellate levels and were extremely disappointed. When we finally did get a chance to marry, we were extremely happy. Wearing our rings—and all the stuff that goes along with marriage—really did change our lives.
Martinez: Just knowing that I can call him my husband and have everyone understand what that means is very powerful. The term is universal and provides a higher sense of security. And it makes me smile every time I get to introduce Byron as my husband!
What was the wedding like?
Beck: It was the best day of my life. We got married in front of 300 guests at Jacobsen Salt Co in Southeast Portland. Thomas Lauderdale and Hunter Noack played “The Wedding March” from The Sound of Music as we walked down the aisle. China Forbes sang the most beautiful Pink Martini song, “Over the Valley”. The attorney general of Oregon, Ellen Rosenblum, was our officiant. We had giant orchids from New Zealand flown in via Geranium Lake Flowers, giant platters of paella from Crown Paella, and two dance floors. We even had ice cubes with our initials carved into them.
Martinez: It was, by far, the best day of my life. The room was full of people we cared for a lot, and everyone (including us, of course) was overcome by so many powerful emotions!
What would you say have been your keys to success as a couple?
Beck: Love is the key to our success. We love and support each other.
Martinez: We are unique individuals who complement each other in so many ways. Love and trust have made our bond so strong.
What advice would you give to those looking to begin their own “ever after”?
Beck: Don’t go looking for love. Love will find you if you love (a.k.a. respect) yourself first. And, when you find love, don’t let it go.
Martinez: Have fun with each other when you first find your love. It’s important to laugh and to enjoy your time together!