DALLAS --Their love story began with a slow burn. Just two people among many sharing a pew at Cathedral of Hope in Dallas.
"We sat in the pew for months before we actually decided to talk," Marlon Cortez laughed.
But then a spark ignited for Cortez and Shannon Bailey.
"It was just magic," Bailey said of their first date. "We went out to dinner, and we came back to my place and just talked all night long."
The relationship was radiant, but the problem of restricted rights remained for Shannon and Marlon. The fact of the matter was, they were a gay couple living in Texas, so in-state marriage was out of the question.
The pair pondered going to another state to get married.
Then came June 26, 2015.
"Today, there's no longer gay marriage. There's no longer straight marriage. There's just marriage equality!" Cathedral of Hope Senior Pastor Neil Cazares-Thomas shouted from the pulpit that day.
"I called him," Bailey said. "He was crying, and I said, 'Wouldn't it be cool if we got married today?' He said, 'I'm in.'"
A year later, they still seem in disbelief but closer than ever.
"That family connection that he is part of me, that piece of paper really did a lot to create that connection," Bailey said.
Unfortunately, hate is still out there, as evidenced by the events of the last couple weeks, but for this pair and many others one year ago wasn't just a victory. It was a vindication.
And now...an anniversary.
"I am so proud to be a part of history and so happy to be married to this man standing next to me," Bailey said.