Vail Valley pair become county’s first same-sex married couple
Beth Reed and Dorothy “Bit” Hood tend to be happy, but not giddy.
They’re charming, funny and each possesses a lightning fast wit, but giddy is different. Sometimes, though, different and giddy are good.
Thursday afternoon they were downright giddy after they became Eagle County’s first same-sex couple to get a marriage license.
Tuesday morning the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a stay and dismissed Colorado’s ban on gay marriage.
They read about it in Wednesday morning’s paper, and on Thursday they texted each other at work.
“Wanna get hitched?”
And so they did. They went to the Eagle County Clerk & Recorder Teak Simonton’s office during their lunch hour Thursday because, like all married people, they have bills to pay and had to get back to work. You know how it is.
Simonton has long been a supporter of same-sex marriage and said she would have given couples a marriage license before now. She was just waiting for someone to ask.
On Thursday, someone did.
“This is about treating people equally who love each other and want to formalize their relationship, regardless of their sexual preferences,” Simonton said.
Bit (short for Little Bit, a high school nickname that stuck) and Beth were also among the first in Eagle County to get a civil union. Helen Lindow did the honors on Dec. 16.
Being being civilly unioned is good; being married is better, they said. Marriage entitles you make the kinds of decisions for each other that married people make — end-of-life decisions and things like that.
“Colorado’s civil unions are designed to be separate but equal, but it’s neither, really,” Beth said.
Brewing beer and better relationships
They work in a local building supply and hardware store and run Wine & Wort, a home brewing and wine making supply store and tasting room in Gypsum, near Costco. They teach the brewer’s art, wine making and even can teach you to make cheese.
Gypsum is happy to have them. The town and Gypsum Chamber of Commerce gave them a $10,000 economic development grant to help their business get rolling.
Bit moved to Denver in 2001 and bought a Jeep from Beth, who was selling cars at a Denver dealership. Bit says it was the best car transaction she’d ever had and called Beth a couple weeks later to thank her.
They got together for dinner and talked about life, as folks will do. They stayed together; it’ll be 14 years on St. Patrick’s Day.
WINDS OF CHANGE
The winds of change have come quickly. The IRS said earlier this year that marriage is marriage, regardless of its gender composition. This week’s Supreme Court ruling makes it all pretty official.
“I’m impressed with how quickly this has changed,” Beth said. “I respect other people’s opinions, but this is my life and you don’t get to have any say in my life.”
Beth was born in the Northeast, Bit in Florida. They say they’ve found people in the West to be more “conservative,” in a “it’s-your-life-so-enjoy-it” kind of way.
“The last 10 to 15 years has seen a wave of minding other people’s business. It’s time for that wave to recede,” Beth said.
They’ve had matching rings for a few years. They went to the jewelers together and picked out something they both liked.
There are no “roles” in their relationship, they said. They both cook and clean, and do what needs to be done around the house and their business.
Generally, Beth kills the bugs.
“I grew up in Florida, and I’ve had enough of bugs,” Bit laughed.
Now, though, they get to go through one of the more stressful things any couple can endure.
“We’re planning to have a wedding party next spring or summer,” Bit said.
They’re not sure when or where, but they do know this:
“The beer and wine will be outstanding,” they said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.