There was a party in Little Rock Saturday night for a couple celebrating their fifteenth anniversary. They are buying a house on Kavanaugh Boulevard, where they live in middleclass comfort and nurture the fragile organism known as a happy marriage. They are both men.
The enduring homosexual relationship usually is thought to be a rarity, but the couple on Kavanaugh said they know of twenty to twenty-five gay relationships of long standing in Little Rock.
Perhaps it is because their lives lack the glitter of the drag crowd or the blatancy of the militants that the gay married have remained comparatively anonymous while homosexuality itself has been gaining public attention and a degree of acceptance. All that effectively sets this middle-aged couple apart from others is that they are of the same sex. Their house is ornately but tastefully decorated. Each has a life insurance policy naming the other as beneficiary. Each works hard, attends church regularly and supports the local police. Their social altitudes are conservative enough to approach a gay puritan ethic.
The house is immaculate and filled with antiques. The two men worked together to remodel and they can share the satisfaction of a job done well. In the rear of the house is a small workshop where the couple, again working together, make small sculptures that provide the bulk of their income.
Roy and David, both in their forties, devote considerable effort to their jobs and to their relationship. They regard their success as the reward of hard work. "We have stayed at home and worked and have been able to accomplish and acquire some things," David said.
Although Roy and David think of themselves as being married, their relationship has not been formalized in a ceremony. "We've never felt any need to," Roy said. "We know how we feel about each other and that's all that's important."
Contrary to what many straight people may believe about homosexual couples, Roy and David have not imitated male and female roles.
"We don't believe in role playing at all," Roy said. "We are two individuals living together and whatever needs to be done, one or the other does it."
But gay people certainly are no less prone to jealousy and frustration than are straight people and their relationships are certain no less vulnerable.
"I think that two people constitute a couple," David said, "and people are personalities. There is no way that two people living together could possibly get along without having some disagreements."
What does a gay couple argue about? "We'll argue about the trivial little annoyances that you have every day with anybody," David said. "I think he should do something to help out more, or he thinks I should do more in a certain area."
"I argue about the telephone bill being too high and such things as that," Roy said.
Both said they try to see that the minor annoyances do not grow into major ones that could jeopardize the entire relationship.
"We made a policy 15 years ago that we would never go to bed at night angry and we never say anything to each other that must be apologized for," Roy said. "I don't know whether that's a plus in our favor or whether we are avoiding some things, but we certainly haven't had any problems over it."
Part of the success of Roy and David appears to result from the fact that they understand the reality of their situation.
They live in a society that does not yet fully accept their ideas and actions and they realize that certain concessions must be made.
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