by Kelly Harrison | photos courtesy Kacey Frierson and Chwanda Nixon
When Kacey Frierson and Chwanda Nixon started dating in 2010, they lived in Illinois. They were excited to move their family to Georgia in 2011 and make it their home state. They later decided to commit their lives to one another, but same-sex marriage wasn’t yet legal in Georgia. It was no surprise when they returned to Illinois, where Civil Unions were legal and where all of their friends and family could be in attendance, to engage in a civil union on April 7, 2012. They still craved the legal title of “wife” for one another, but that meant they had to be joined in marriage. And thus began their adventure.
The couple felt they had a point to prove and decided to be married in each of the 11 states where they could legally do so. “No matter how many times we got married, even though we shared a family, a home and responsibilities, none of that mattered once we crossed the border into our home state of Georgia. We were still considered legal strangers by our home state,” said Kacey. In New York, on April 8, 2013, and with all 7 of their children by their side, they had their first legal wedding. With each state that followed, a marriage certificate was acquired and a wedding was held. Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Maryland, Washington DC and Massachusetts rounded out the first leg of the #IDOMARATHON.
In 2014, they checked oﬀ 3 more states, conquering New Jersey, Iowa and Illinois. One year later, they added Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia. The federal law changed on June 26, 2015, and same-sex marriage became legal in all 50 states, but Kacey and Chwanda did not stop there. The couple decided to be married in all 50 states. “We were celebrating places that were celebrating love,” says Kacey. “Everyone loves love! We have been welcomed everywhere we have been.”
In January of 2018, they were married in Nevada and in April, they marked Florida oﬀ the list. Out of all the ceremonies so far, they say the fondest memories are that of their first “legal” wedding in NY. It’s safe to say the message they are spreading along the way leaves room for many special memories in the hearts and minds of those they encounter during their journey. Chwanda says, “Love always wins and change can happen.” They plan on being a part of that change across all 50 states and sharing their message of love and love and more love. It’s clear they have seen the change during the 6 years of their wedding journey.
The couple is saving the best for last and will make their home state of Georgia the final state marked off the list. They will finish #IDOMARATHON in the very place they started their legal lives together. “In our home state, before June 25, 2015, we were nothing. By finally getting married here, we will say we did it, we did it our way, and our love matters.”
The couple’s story has not gone unnoticed. They were named one of “21 Amazing Couples Who Vowed ‘I Do’” and “60 Power Couples You Should Know” by Out Magazine, and Rolling Stones declared their first wedding “One of the 2013 Biggest Same-Sex Weddings of the Year.”
Tennessee will become state number 17 when they say “I Do” once again in the Music City on August 25, 2018. Local officiant Vicky Stewart will help them tie the knot in our state. The couple located her through Purple Unions a website that serves as a database of LGBT+ friendly vendors across the country. When Kacey originally contacted Vicky, it was simply to ask if she would perform the ceremony. When Vicky learned more about their story, message, and mission, she was excited to be a part of this very special event. She willingly volunteered her services to the #IDOMARATHON and send the couple a letter, thanking them for allowing her to be involved. And thus it is proven that change inspires change and love inspires love.