George Lewis knows the moment well.
It changed his life.
It was 1991. He was in Greece, exploring Athens with a friend, David.
The day was pleasant, until David fell ill.
“David had not been feeling well and it turned out he was passing a kidney stone,” George Lewis said.
They hopped in a car, and hurried back to their hotel while David went through his rather painful condition. Little did they know, as they were rushing past ruins of immense history, they were forging the beginning of their future.
“We got halfway there, he said, ‘I think I’m going to pass out.’ And he did,” Lewis said.
He stopped the car and carried David to some shade in a grove of pomegranate trees.
“I was holding his head, and he finally woke up,” George said. “And it’s strange to say, but it was a very lovely experience.”
George and David Lewis have been together ever since; for 21 years.
“Meeting and knowing David, his enthusiasm, and our talent together, that was just it,” George said. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. David has a warm heart.”
After David recovered, the two went for a drive to Mount Parnassus. They officially decided it would be them, together, from then on out.
“We were driving up on a beautiful mountain,” Lewis said. “We knew then that we were going to be in a solid relationship.”
But it wasn’t the last mountain the two to take on together. The two embarked on a venture together over the coming years, starting their own business as artists — Little and Lewis.
And during this time, while it was clear to themselves, their friends and family that they were a couple, they still were not widely recognized as such.
With the passing of Referendum 74 in Washington state, George and David, at 68 and 57 years young respectively, are getting married.
“It’s about time.” David said.
“It’s about time for both of us, after 21 years, to get married and for Washington to realize it’s OK for same-sex couples to get married.”
“It’s a wonderful thing,” George Lewis added. “We get to commit to our relationship with friends and family and it means something for us to be accepted as a married couple. It’s a wonderful thing for freedom and civil rights.”
When Washington established a domestic partnership program in 2009, the couple signed up.
“It was called ‘everything but marriage,’” David recalled.
They accepted the designation and never thought their relationship could go farther beyond that in the eyes of the law.
“We never thought there would be this day where we could legally be married,” David said.
But as Washington considered Referendum 74, it seemed as if marriage could become a possibility for them. The couple called their friends to let them know how important it was for them. They even wrote letters to organizations opposing the referendum, explaining their position.
When Election Day came on Tuesday, Nov. 6, the pair were glued to the news.
“I actually did not rest until 48 hours later,” David said. “It was imperative for me to see that little green check beside Referendum 74, to say that it passed.”
Turns out, Washington voters were on their side.
For the couple, Washington’s decision is a reflection of what they have experienced on Bainbridge Island.
“George and I have always been embraced here on the island and we’ve always felt incredibly welcome; in all of Kitsap County,” David said.
“It’s very moving to me and it goes to prove that I live in the right place,” George added. “Bainbridge is a wonderful place, and I’m appreciative of that.”
George and David will be married next summer, in a small garden ceremony with close family, and friends.
“In a lesser degree it makes a political statement,” David said. “But first and foremost it just seems a logical step in a loving, committed, growing relationship.”
“This is an incredible honor for me,” he added.