This is a fabulous story… by powerful women who manifested their vision not only in their personal life, but in their professional life to serve the children of the world. I first met Trish Millines Dziko almost 18 years ago when I moved to Seattle. I was doing fundraising development for a Canadian non-profit and Trish was working at Microsoft. I received her name as a referral and set up a meeting with her. I was ready to pitch her our cause as she was very open to education for all children. She politely told me, “I will connect you with one of my colleagues, because I am starting my own non-profit.” … And the Technology Access Foundation was born!
I have been involved with Trish’s foundation as a donor and a volunteer for many years. I am honored to call her a dear friend. Through her innovative vision, impeccable ethics, and powerful beliefs, she has been a mentor to me and many others. I am overjoyed that she and her wife, Jill, are finally able to have the same rights that my husband and I have in the state of Washington.
It was a beautiful spring day. Family had been in town—Jill’s from Utah, and Trish’s from New Jersey—for a few days and you could feel the excitement everywhere you walked. We’re not fancy people, but for that day we were dressed up in newly purchased outfits. Trish’s cousins even decorated her dreads with a few flowers. The limousines arrived to take us to the Kerry Park, which provided a magnificent view of Downtown Seattle and the waterfront. When we pulled up, our guests were there and that’s when the nerves really built up. After a few last minute clothing adjustments we walked on the path to the altar, overlooking the city of Seattle where we were greeted by Jill’s parents and Trish’s two best friends Lisa and Ron. What started out as a very serious endeavor that would change both our lives turned out to be an amazingly light and sometimes comical ceremony that we will cherish forever. Neither one of us could finish our personal vows because we both started crying in the middle of them, the wind was blowing and our friend Manny was resigned to holding the candles and flowers so they wouldn’t blow off the table. And let’s not even talk about trying to light the dang candles.
By the time Washington State passed the marriage equity law in 2013, we had been together for 18 years, started two businesses (which we both still run) and brought four wonderful children into our lives. Jill gave birth to our first child in 1998 and we adopted the other three at birth. We fretted over preschool, kindergarten and just about every other educational opportunity most parents worry about. We worried when they were sick, were happy to find sitters we could trust, and we cheered right alongside all the other parents at games, performances and school events. Today our children are 15, 14, 13 and 10 years old—the girls are the oldest. They are happy, busy kids, with lots of friends. And because we live in such a tolerant place, having two moms is not a big deal to them. We are just like any other family.
While we were happy for the law and the 1,138 benefits, rights and protections we would enjoy as a married couple, we for some reason hesitated before deciding to get legally married. What would marriage really mean? Did it really matter? It didn’t matter when we filed for domestic partnership back in 2007, so what would be different? So we did what any other self respecting parents would do—we asked our kids! They looked at us like puppies do when they tilt their head to the side in wonderment. Our oldest daughter said, “We already think of you as you married”. Our oldest son asked, “Will there be cake?” That was it. We were getting married. After successfully ducking our oldest child’s offer to plan the whole wedding and our friends’ need to make it a huge deal, we got married. On August 21st at 5:00pm, we marched into Judge Mary Yu’s chambers with our family and some close friends so she could legally join us together as an officially married couple. And it felt really good!
Oh and that beautiful ceremony we described earlier in this piece? That was 1997 and in our lives together, that was our real wedding.
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