The chronology of the relationship between Marvin Tucker, a civilian employee at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., and his spouse, parallels that of most couples. They met while Tucker was serving in the military in 1994 and even though they have faced tough economic times and prejudices throughout the last 19 years together, the bond between them has continued to grow stronger.
Finally, on August 3, after years of not being treated equally and not enjoying the same rights as other couples, Tucker and his fiancée, Joshua Delgado, walked down the aisle of the March ARB chapel and were married with their families, friends and co-workers on hand to witness the historic ceremony, a first of its kind at the March chapel.
Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, the couple received the best wedding present they could have asked for, Tucker said, the right to legally wed.
“Being legally wed means that we are no longer second-class citizens,” Tucker said. “Josh can now have health insurance through my insurance carrier, we can make medical decisions for each other, and we can inherit from each other without being overly taxed, just to name a few (benefits).”
Tucker served in the Air Force and Air Force Reserve for 15 years while Delgado pursued his dream of restaurant management. When a full-time, civilian emergency management job became available at March, Tucker left the Reserve to fill it and eventually moved into the manager position.
“It was a good opportunity to move to a new location and begin a new life as a couple,” Tucker said.
Like most other couples, the newlyweds share many of the same interests. They are both foodies who love to try new restaurants and have a passion for cooking, but their love of animals tops the list.
“We have three dogs that are our ‘babies’ and we enjoy every moment we can spend with them,” Tucker said.
Their other hobbies include swimming, scuba diving, or just staying home to read or watch a movie, he added.
“Being home owners, we love spending time with upkeep, maintenance and improvements, just like any other couple,” Tucker said.
“Mutual respect and appreciation for each other’s space has allowed us to remain together 19 plus years, and we were thrilled to take our relationship to the next level with our friends and family, now that the legal issues have been worked through the courts.”
Marriage itself doesn’t change who they are as individuals, Tucker said. There were times people made them feel different. For example, they attended a military ball but had to find female dates to go with them and were not even able to sit at the same table.
“We have always been taught not to offend anyone with our lifestyles. Some people would be uncomfortable to see us as a couple or to see us hold hands in public,” Tucker said. “To this day Josh and I do not hold hands in public out of fear of people saying something to us or the possibility of someone being violent toward us.”
Tucker said they married because they love each other and after nearly 20 years together, wanted to make their relationship whole, complete, recognized.
“The benefits are second to our commitment to each other. The reason why we got married wasn’t just because we get a better tax break,” Tucker said. “There are so many other laws that apply too. Now if I get hurt and am hospitalized, Josh can legally visit me as a family member.”
Tucker said they are not ones to march in parades or participate in sit-ins, but are your neighbors, co-workers, clients and they hope to change people’s minds about the gay lifestyle by just being a normal couple.
“We are no different than any other married couple,” Tucker said. “We just dress better!”