Audrey Smaltz, 75, and Gail Marquis, 58, request to be called wife and wife when they are introduced. For them, only this term connotes the tender nature of their commitment. Through the strength of their love, the pair has become one of the most prominent couples representing the fight for marriage equality since their 2011 New York City nuptials.
Their union has been covered in outlets ranging from The New York Times to The Guardian in the United Kingdom. Now, as the U.S. Supreme Court readies itself to hear arguments on Tuesday to repeal California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state in 2008, the duo have reached a pinnacle. For many, they stand as the ultimate proof that gay marriage is an important right that deserves national recognition.
“I always tell people, there’s nothing like coming out to two million of your closest friends,” Gail said of their first appearance in the Times, which featured the partners after their marriage was announced. (They would also be featured for their fall nuptials.) After that piece of press, they have happily submitted to the resulting media blitz — articles, appearances, and speaking gigs — that further demonstrate their message of love.
As a natural outgrowth of this attention, their tale of devotion will be elevated by various outlets as the arguments made on Tuesday to persuade the court to strike down Prop 8 are made. If this occurs, the Supreme Court may determine that the Constitution requires all states to grant gays and lesbians the right to marry.
Dividing their time between homes in New Jersey and Manhattan, Gail and Audrey are excited to possibly see their union recognized nationwide. “We’re right on the forefront,” Gail said of this moment. “We didn’t plan it. We accept it. And we’re just doing our thing. We haven’t changed a step, not at all.”
We cannot be present for the attorney’s presentation on behalf of opponents of Prop 8, but the public can learn more about their bond in the latest creation featuring the love birds, a mini-documentary called Gail and Audrey: An Unexpected Love Story.