Former Pennsylvania 90-year-old senator, Harris Wofford is set to marry his gay partner, Matthew Charlton on April 30 after almost five decades of marriage with his late wife. He has been in a relationship with the 40-year-old interior decorator for 15 years, which started after his wife’s death in 2001. He revealed this to New York Times on Sunday, as he went public with the second love of his life at the weekend, when he told how he fell for a man after being married to a woman for 48 years.
He wrote: 'Too often, our society seeks to label people by pinning them on the wall, straight, gay or in between. I don’t categorize myself based on the gender of those I love. I had a half-century of marriage with a wonderful woman, and now am lucky for a second time to have found happiness.'
Mr Wofford lost his wife, Clare to leukemia in 1996. They married in 1948 after meeting while he was serving in the U.S. Air Force during the Second World War. The pair went on to have three children together and she even gave up her job to become his all-out campaigner, his 'best critic' and 'best friend'. 'Our romance and adventure continued for five decades,' Wofford wrote.
At the age of 70, Wofford was left heartbroken and thought: 'I would never again feel the kind of love Clare and I shared'. But he was wrong. Five years later, he met Mr Charlton by chance while swimming off a beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. And despite being decades apart in age, he said they instantly 'clicked.' The couple fell in love and Wofford, said he did not label himself as 'gay' or 'straight', he was simply happy to have found love for a second time.
'To some, our bond is entirely natural, to others it comes as a strange surprise, but most soon see the strength of our feelings and our devotion to each other. We have now been together for 15 years,' he wrote in the Times.
Now Wofford, who was succeeded in office by Senator Rick Santorum, is planning to marry his new partner on April 30 - something he never believed he'd be able to do.
'For a long time, I did not suspect that idea and fate might meet in my lifetime to produce same-sex marriage equality. My focus was on other issues facing our nation, especially advancing national service for all. Seeking to change something as deeply ingrained in law and public opinion as the definition of marriage seemed impossible.
'I was wrong, and should not have been so pessimistic.' He said that he feels 'lucky' to be in an era when marriage 'is not based on anyone’s sexual nature, choices or dreams. It is based on love.'
Source: New York Times