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A Denver community helped two women have a gay wedding after they journeyed halfway across the world

Marriage Equality, Rainbow Rings
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After fleeing from Venezuela so they can be together, two gay women were finally able to get married thanks to the Denver community.

Amarilis and Mariangy Delgado Gutierrez are from Valencia, Venezuela and grew up in two closely knit families. But it was only five years ago that sparks began to fly, with the couple falling more and more in love as they spent more time together.

By the time they decided they wanted to be together, Mariangy had two children and a boyfriend – who she later left so she could be with Amarilis.

The boyfriend, however, did not accept their love, and neither did their families.

“We started by writing to each other, and then we started to go out,” Amarilis told Westword. “We kept going out until she realized she didn’t want to be with him any longer. She wanted to be with me. She eventually made a decision, but there were a lot of problems, because the man never accepted it.” 

While Mariangy’s mother is beginning to come around, and Amarilis had some relatives who fled with the couple and their children to the U.S., the two nevertheless had to leave everything behind so they could be together and get a better future for the children.

“It was an idea we had a lot sooner than when we made our way to the United States,” says Amarilis. “I had mentioned it to her kind of kidding, like, ‘Amor, let’s get married.’ At first she said, ‘You don’t want to marry me,’ and we started there — and, well, after a time, it gave.”  

They fled through the Darién Gap, a 60-mile-long region of dense jungles filled with dangerous wildlife, unstable terrain, and immense crime. It’s often called one of the most dangerous areas in the world.

They then sold lollipops in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Mexico to raise enough money to reach the American border.

“A lot happened when we passed through the Darién Gap. We had to go through mountains, rivers, a lot of things like that,” Amarilis says. “In Panama, we had to walk through the streets selling candy to complete the passage.” 

An immigration official told the two that they’d have the best luck finding acceptance in Denver. They took the official’s advice and, after a long bus ride, arrived in the city.

But their dreams of marriage had to come to a temporary halt after they couldn’t afford a marriage license. That is until the organization Dork Dancing stepped in.

Dork Dancing is a mental health nonprofit that employs immigrants to help them build up a job history. After hearing about the two women’s desire to get married, Dork Dancing stepped in and set up a wedding for them, covering all the costs.

The broader community was invited to the wedding, with dozens showing up to show support for the couple. Even a few people walking by stopped to join in.

Their honeymoon is also sponsored, though the specifics of that haven’t been shared yet.

“Thank God that when we got here, we started to feel a lot better,” Amarilis says of Denver. “The people here have supported us a lot. We’ve received a lot of help from a lot of people. We can get ahead and move forward little by little. We still have a long way to go, but we’re coming along little by little until we get to a stable situation.” 

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