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She Found Love, But Still Seeks A Storybook Ending

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Wade Goodwyn - time now for another installment of Storycorps. Recently, they've been traveling the country recording stories from the LGBT community through an initiative called Outloud. Today, Marcia Sutton and her partner, Sandra Sowder. Marcia and Sandra have been together for six years. And when the Storycorps booth stopped in Huntsville, Alabama, they sat down and talked about the beginning of their relationship. Marcia starts the conversation.

MARCIA SUTTON: I was the preacher's wife. We had been in the same little church for 20 years. I had watched people marry, people die, people give birth. And when we realized we were going to divorce, it was one of the hardest things I've ever done. But it was such a relief because I really wanted to be with you. The church publicly withdrew fellowship from me. And you went to church with me that day. Do you remember that?

SANDRA SOWDER: Oh, my goodness. They read a letter and turned you over to the devil is part of the wording in the letter.

SUTTON: Yes.

SOWDER: Your children were actually there, and watched these people that you had loved go up and sign this letter along with their father. I mean, it was like the Salem witch hunt.

SUTTON: I made my choices. But I think that I felt like over time my daughters would understand me.

SOWDER: You had a very, very close relationship with all of your girls.

SUTTON: I did go by to see one of my older daughters because she's pregnant. And just say hello, and I love you. And her husband called the police. I remember the police officer. He apologized and said ma'am I'm very sorry for your pain, but you'll have to leave.

They think what they're doing is right. If I didn't believe that they thought it was the right thing, I'm sure I would lose my mind. Do you remember you used to say when we get old you would help me walk along because I'm a little older than you and I have a bad back?

SOWDER: Yeah.

SUTTON: And we're going to build that house on a bluff. And if children and grandchildren want to come be a part of that, they're welcome.

SOWDER: They would be so loved. It would just be great.

SUTTON: It makes it hard for us to have the storybook ending that we want, but I'm still not sorry that I found you. I wouldn't change it.

SOWDER: I agree.

GOODWYN: Sandra Sowder with her partner Marcia Sutton in Huntsville, Alabama. Their interview is part of Storycorps' Outloud, recording the stories of the LGBT community. If you'd like to add your own story to the Library of Congress, visit storycorps.org. Check out their podcast on iTunes and at npr.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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