All this connects back to Evan, the volunteer who’d told me he didn’t want me to share ‘his’ house. He was the one who had precipitated all of it yet he was probably the only person in town who had not witnessed my confession. He wasn’t there because he took pains to ensure that our paths rarely crossed. Still, shortly thereafter, he flagged me down as I passed him near the market. He said, “I think we’ve proved we can maintain our distance.” We started our relationship from there.
It turned out that we actually got along quite well and soon established a weekly date to play chess. After a time we opened up to each other and he told me that he was gay (I told him I’d figured that out the first time we’d met). He asked me what I planned to do when I left Peace Corps and I said I really didn’t know. How about him? He told me he was pretty sure he knew exactly what he’d do. He said Harvard Law School had accepted him before he joined Peace Corps. They’d allowed him to defer until after he finished.
Later, the topic came up again, and he further amplified. “I want to be the guy who makes gay marriage legal in the United States.” At the time he said this, 1979, inter-racial couples were still under attack on our Virginia streets. I reminded him of that and added, “And you think you’re going to pass a law to allow men to marry men?”
After we both finished Peace Corps, I occasionally caught some mention of him in the press. Once, I noticed that Time Magazine had added him to their “10 People to Watch” list. He was listed for his work in promotion of same-sex marriage. In June, 2011, I found another photo of him in the press. In it, he stood beside New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Governor was signing New York’s same-sex marriage bill into law. Even later, I saw him on the PBS News Hour. He was Jim Lehrer’s lead interview. President Obama had just announced his support for a national same sex marriage law.
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about him:
Evan Wolfson (born February 4, 1957) is an attorney and gay rights advocate. He is the founder and president of Freedom to Marry, a group favoring same-sex marriage in the United States. Wolfson, who many consider to be the father and leader of the same-sex marriage movement, authored the book Why Marriage Matters…He was listed as one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World…