My name is Lee Raines. My husband is Andrew De Los Reyes. We have been in a loving, committed relationship for 15 years. We were married in a civil ceremony at Riverside Memorial Church in New York City on Sept. 27, 2003.
We are a rare and fortunate couple — we enjoy wholehearted, enthusiastic support from our families. Our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews and cousins attended our ceremony along with many loving friends. (In 2010, we became legally married.) We moved to Georgia to be closer to our family and to take care of my mother, who has suffered recent health setbacks.
Ironically, in the state of Georgia, Drew and I are geographically closer to our family, but legally we are not recognized as a married couple. This situation is unfair and unconstitutional. We are not second-class citizens. We deserve full and equal rights.
My husband is Marine Corps veteran. He served honorably in Desert Shield/Desert Storm in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. His unit, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines Regiment, was the first to cross the line of departure into Kuwait and into Kuwait City, liberating the country. He was awarded multiple honors, including the Kuwait Liberation and Navy Achievement Medals.
My father, Langdon Howard Raines (born in Ashburn), was a World War II veteran (lieutenant colonel, U.S. Army Air Corps). Andrew’s father is a U.S. Army veteran. Both of our fathers welcomed us warmly, openly and without prejudice into their families. They spoke movingly at our commitment ceremony, and took special pride in Andrew’s service to his country.
We are Georgians. We are a fully committed couple. We deserve the same rights granted to all married couples in the state of Georgia.