gay marriage, Illinois, Iowa, Midwest America, Publications, The New York Times, United States

Five Years Later: Reuniting With One of the First Gay Couples to Obtain A Marriage License in Iowa

In April 2009, I traveled from Chicago to Davenport, Iowa to cover the first day gay marriage licenses were issued in that state for The New York Times. In line at the Scott County Recorder’s office that day were these two, Curtis Harris and Daren Adkisson. The picture I took of them ran in the paper and subsequently in over 500 newspapers across America they told me yesterday. They also told me that as Daren was suffering from cancer at the time, the picture led to attention in their community which led to a cancer specialist who was not taking any more patients opening his doors to Daren. While they credit the picture with saving his life, I credit the doctors.

Witness Connie Fuller, 39, takes a picture of Rock Island, Illinois couple (l-r) Curtis Harris, 50, and Daren Adkisson, 39, after they picked up their marriage license first thing in the morning at the Scott County Recorder's Office the first day same sex weddings are legal across Iowa in Davenport, Iowa on April 27, 2009.

Witness Connie Fuller, 39, takes a picture of Rock Island, Illinois couple (l-r) Curtis Harris, 50, and Daren Adkisson, 39, after they picked up their marriage license first thing in the morning at the Scott County Recorder’s Office the first day same sex weddings are legal across Iowa in Davenport, Iowa on April 27, 2009.

Curtis Harris, me, and Daren Adkisson at the Caribou Coffee bar in the HyVee supermarket in Moline, Illinois on November 29, 2014.

Curtis Harris, me, and Daren Adkisson at the Caribou Coffee bar in the HyVee supermarket in Moline, Illinois on November 29, 2014.

These guys are pretty special. The rare Americans who turn down $10k to be on TV (a comedy show’s producers called three times wishing to do a spoof, the third time offering a cash incentive) and are just happy to be and live and love each other. Another benefit of the picture appearing was that they were the first gay couple to be married in the history of the big multinational corporation Curtis works for and when the picture appeared, they were called to human resources and the documents for Daren to sign to get him company insurance were all ready. Medicare had previously refused to cover his treatment because America can be a shitty place sometimes as often as it can be beautiful.

Here is the story from when their image first appeared:

A Quiet Day in Iowa As Same-Sex Couples Line Up To Marry,” by Monica Davey (April 27, 2009),
Pictures of the Day: April 27,”and
Signs G.O.P. Is Rethinking Stance on Gay Marriage,” by Adam Nagourney (April 28, 2009).