Wedding bells will soon be ringing for Sean Patrick Maloney, a first-term Democratic U.S. Representative from New York's 18th district, and his longtime partner Randy Florke. The two have been together for 21 years and have three children. They were engaged last month and announced the news yesterday.
A statement provided to Middletown, New York's Times Herald-Record reads, "After 21 years together, we are excited for the next step in our journey as a family. For decades, we've fought to ensure that all families can experience the joys of loving commitment and we are proud to have our friends and family share this special moment with us in the near future."
Malone and Florke told BuzzFeed that they had long intended to marry, but their plans were pushed ahead because of how badly their children wanted their dads to legally wed.
"When you're our age, and you've been together as long as we have, you know what your relationship is and you don't consider it something less than someone else's," Maloney said. "In the eyes of young children, it matters that you're married. It means something to them and so we saw that through their eyes."
"I don't understand it, I have to be fully honest, why it matters so much to them. They don't know anything different, we've been together, we've been in an incredibly stable relationship their entire lives. Why does marriage matter so much to them? But there's something about us not being married that there's a piece missing for them, a little bit of insecurity. They know that it's less than what their friends' relationships are. I'm not smart enough to explain it, but it matters to them."
In fact, marriage means so much to the Maloney-Florke kids that Essie, the youngest, wrote a letter to Santa this year asking for him to help make her dads tie the knot. (A photo of Essie's letter is after the jump.)
On Christmas Day, the kids got their wish: after all the presents were opened, Florke left the room and returned with a suitcase. As he presented it to Maloney, he said, "I'm giving you a really obvious gift. It's a suitcase, but it comes with a proposal: I want to know if you will travel with me forever and marry me."
Maloney said yes. The two will marry this summer.
Rep. Maloney will become only the second gay member of Congress who is married. The first is Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, who wed his husband Philip Frank in 2006.
Congratulations, Sean and Randy! Best wishes for joy, success, and long life as you prepare to begin your marriage journey together.