Joan is joining the Rapid Response Petition Team – Are You?

Posted on July 18, 2013

Joan with her partner Mary

As told by Joan Fondell:

Mary and I met in May of 1988 when we were sitting together at the same table during a business conference. We went out to get cappuccino afterwards. I fell in love with Mary’s infectious laugh, her gift for gab and her love for food. She carried herself with style and flair. We started out as friends and then the relationship evolved. We worked together. We lived together.

In April of last year, Mary was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. We knew it would be fatal. I went to every doctor appointment with her, and I was intimately involved in her care. No treatment, no pill – nothing could stop the disease.

It was heartbreaking to know she was going to die.

The disease progressed quickly. She lost function in her legs and hands. Every day we experienced a new hardship, an acceleration of her loss of function. We knew we were living on borrowed time.  We spent every moment together. There wasn’t a day we did not cry. I was there with her when she died on August 26. She was 66 years old. We’d been together for 24 years.

We were a regular couple. We loved each other, we built a life together, we owned our home and paid our mortgage together, we laughed together, we cried together. We dreamed of marrying each other. We never had the freedom to marry.

I know that there are other loving and committed couples out there who want the freedom to marry. Marriage strengthens families, and I believe in treating others as one would want to be treated. I can’t sit back. Our families are on the line.

Marriage is too important. We are going to win the freedom to marry for all Oregonians, and I am going to help make it happen from the start. That’s why I am so excited to helping gather petition signatures to get this historic measure on the ballot.