By Johnny Trlica
Lots of stories are written about the marriages of rich and famous gay celebrities or well-connected. When Ricky Martin was married in 2015, his wedding was plastered everywhere. Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, Melissa Etheridge, Jodie Foster, Sara Gilbert, Raven-Symoné, George Takei, Lance Bass, Matt Bomer, and Jim Parsons have all had their marriages ballyhooed in the press.
But what about those not-so-famous gay couples — the ones that go about their daily business of work, paying bills, hanging out with friends, quietly living their lives, being true to themselves and loving each other? Their weddings and marriages should be as celebrated as anyone’s.
Says Abraham Valencia on the one-year anniversary of his marriage to Daniel Hamilton: “Honestly, I was not expecting to find my person. However, that is the beauty of life. I couldn’t be more grateful for how things turned out. From the moment I met my now-husband, I knew he was my person. I’m not going to lie, just like anyone else, we have had our ups and downs. No relationship is perfect but if you work it out, what matters the most is not the challenges we go through but how much we love each other. No matter what life throws at you, we can overcome anything if we are together.”
They met the old-fashioned way, through a mutual friend. On a Saturday afternoon, hanging out at JR’s, a friend introduced them to each other. A week later they went on their first date.
Abe is the more outspoken of the pair, even a tad wild (his words). Danny is more reserved and perhaps described as somewhat shy.
“When I looked into his eyes, I was blown away. That is when I knew. I felt overjoyed and full, as someone in love,” comments Abe.
The attraction Abe and Danny had for each other was immediate and, within a year, Abe proposed.
“Before I did, I called his mother (now mother-in-law),” Abe said with a little giggle. “I asked her for her permission. I was so nervous. It was probably not romantic; we were at our friend’s place, and I just couldn’t wait anymore. The anticipation and excitement were just too much, so I just went for it. He said yes, of course, but we both agreed to wait at least five years. It worked and I wouldn’t change a thing,” Abe added.
“I told him yes, on the condition that we wait five years. My reason is that most gay relationships don’t make it that long and the ones that do tend to make it long-term,” says Danny.
For the next five years, they would go for long walks at Hermann Park while playing Pokemon Go, hang out with friends, go to the movies, and do some retail therapy.
Then in 2022 while planning a vacation, the couple realized it had been five years.
“Suddenly [Las] Vegas came up and with all the unspeakable things going on with the Supreme Court and LGBTQ+ rights, I didn’t want to allow anyone to say who I could marry. Saying my I do’s was very very emotional. Stefanie, Danny’s mother, really made our day more special as she was our witness and only attendee. I honestly wish my parents could’ve been there. As much as I want to tell myself they were there in spirit (they passed away) it is not the same. I would’ve given anything if they were there for our special day,” says Abe.
The newlyweds settled in Houston and returned to their jobs, Abe in the hospitality business and Danny in sales. They keep their relationship fresh with frequent date nights and brunches with friends. Postino’s and Gloria’s are go-to brunch stops.
“We believe date nights are important in our relationship to help remind us how it all started. This might sound like a cliché, but candlelight dinners at any of our favorite restaurants or going to the movie theater, even watching our favorite shows or movies at home next to each other makes a difference,” says Abe.
They love to travel, with Galveston, Lake Charles, and New Orleans being their favorite stops. In fact, to mark their one-year anniversary, they took a weekend trip to Crescent City. Wanting to splurge a bit, Danny booked a room at the Ritz-Carlton.
They were met with champagne, strawberries, and a greeting card reading, “Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton.”
“At first it bothered me,” says Abe, not wanting to dwell on the faux pas. “I want to believe that it was just a template that they use, I am fully aware that even though the year is 2023… some people are still stuck in the ‘old era’ refusing to adapt,” he added.
The first year of marriage has not been a bed of roses for Abe and Danny. A few “friends” had difficulty accepting the pair as married and did their best to drive a wedge between the newlyweds.
Abe describes himself as territorial, overprotective, and sometimes with behavior that has gotten him into situations that could have been avoided. With Danny’s “sometimes bossy” ways, the couple have learned not to argue over the little things.
“We are always learning something new; life is so complex trying to please certain people just to feel accepted. While with my husband I do not have to try being someone I am not; to me, that is one thing that I love about him,” says Abe.
Different in so many ways, they complement each other. One thing they agree on is not wanting children. Neither have a desire to raise a kid or start a family. Fur babies, yes. Kids, no.
When asked what’s the best thing about being married, Danny answers, “Benefits and tax evasion (jk). But seriously, getting to tell people I found my husband and I’m not trading him for anything.”
The couple agrees that while togetherness is important; it is just as important to have alone time.
“I mean, come on, we are married; he is not my prisoner. Being together 24/7 would be not only toxic but also boring,” says Abe.
Asked to characterize their six-year journey to where they are now, the couple replies, “We work on finding an understanding and common ground and being supportive of each other and focusing on what matters to us both as a loving and caring couple because at the end of the day all that matters is how much we love every moment we get to share with each other.”
Abe and Danny may have waited six years to achieve a one-year anniversary, but with their commitment to being each other’s cheerleader, working on caring and understanding each other, and striving to make every moment count, many more anniversaries are in their future.