Desiree Alva & Kelly Ocasio | San Antonio, Texas
What first started off as friendship between Desiree Alva and Kelly Ocasio, has turned into an over decade-long relationship. Desiree, who is originally from San Antonio, TX and Kelly, originally from Milwaukee, WI, became friends in 2002 while working as counselors for a pre-college summer program. Their relationship quickly progressed from there, and the couple started dating in October 2002.
“While we were both scared about what our futures would bring if we pursued the relationship, we could not ignore the intense feelings we had.”
Since 2002, the couple has moved back and forth between Texas and Wisconsin. In 2006, the couple moved to San Antonio to be closer to Desiree’s family. It was during this time that they bought their first house together and settled into their careers. After three years in Texas, the couple moved back to Madison for graduate programs at UW-Madison, where they first met. Last month, Desiree and Kelly moved back to Texas where Kelly began a new job after completing her Ph.D. Desiree is currently finishing her Ph.D. through UW-Madison.
In October 2012, ten years after they first started dating, Desiree and Kelly had a wedding ceremony in San Antonio. They were excited to have the ceremony in front of their family and friends, as it signaled a declaration of their love and commitment to one another. “It was this public recognition and support from loved ones that made us feel like we were finally recognized as being in a committed relationship.”
Both Desiree’s and Kelly’s families were excited and supportive of their wedding ceremony.
“They helped us go through all the wedding preparations, walked us down the aisle, toasted us and our life together, and truly enjoyed a celebration of love. Now, every time there is news related to the freedom to marry, our families contact us to let us know. I think the wedding was a way for our families to ‘come out’ and be advocates for their daughters. It is empowering to have such a wonderful network of love and support around us.”
On June 6, 2014, when Wisconsin ruled that the state’s marriage ban was unconstitutional and briefly allowed marriage, Desiree and Kelly were legally married. A week later, Wisconsin put a stay on the court’s decision and they are now waiting to see if and when their marriage will be valid and respected throughout the United States.
Kelly and Desiree have a one-year-old-son, Nico, and are expecting their second child on April 1st, 2015. Marriage is so important to them for many reasons, but protecting them and their children is of utmost importance.
“The mere fact that we have to jump through hoops and spend so much in legal fees to have documents drawn up that outline our wishes and intentions, appointments of guardianship for our children, and now going through an adoption for Kelly to have rights to her own son is ridiculous. We have been together for 12 years, owned property together, own vehicles together, have children together, have built an entire family, yet according to the law, we are two single women. This cuts us deeply and demoralizes us as human beings.”
Although there is still progress to be made, Desiree and Kelly are hopeful and optimistic about the way the fight for the freedom to marry is progressing.
“Now that we have gone through so many life milestones together and seen society evolve during the past decade, we are proud that we haven’t had to sacrifice things in our lives just because of who we chose to love. Our hope is that our own children will not know a time that their moms’ were not granted a basic human right.”