American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Unconditional: Raul and Ted’s Love Story

AFER’s Love Stories series tells the stories of couples who are waiting to get married. If you are a gay and lesbian couple who is planning to get married, tell us your story and you could be featured.

For Ted Hallowell and Raul Fernandez of La Mesa, California, it was love at first sight when they met in 1981.

“When the chemistry and the dynamics are there, you just know,” says Ted of falling in love with Raul. “[I love] his passion and compassion… I’m in awe of him. I would give anything if I could be like that. He gives me that part that I don’t have.”

“We Latinos use the word passion,” says Raul of his feelings for Ted. “[He] is perceptive, intuitive, and a mentor to me in many ways.” The couple claim their 31-year relationship has thrived because they love each other unconditionally and as much as they possibly can.

Although Ted and Raul have registered as domestic partners, they feel that marriage is what they truly want. “[Showing] the love and the kindness and the mutual respect we have for each other. That’s what [marriage] means to us,” says Raul. “We’re a family. That’s what’s most important to me – that I can say we are married and are no different than any other couple,” continues Ted.

Role Models

At the age of 92, Ted’s uncle married his partner of 65 years when gay and lesbian couples could marry in California in 2008. “They were such amazing role models for us – two people that manage to be together so long. I want that, I really want that,” says Ted.

Although Ted’s uncle has since passed, Ted and Raul still consider the couple as a constant source of inspiration.

“My youngest daughter is getting married next year,” says Ted. He hopes that he and Raul are an example for a successful relationship for her as well.

Family Men

Ted and Raul have always maintained a close relationship with Ted’s three children and his ex-wife, Nancy.

“When I met Ted and I knew that he had three kids, I knew that those children would never be without,” says Raul.

Ted’s three children live close by and the couple sees them all the time. He also has three grandchildren, with a fourth one on the way. Ted loves that the family has embraced Raul and the couple puts a lot of effort into their family relationships.

“Overall, we maintain a great relationship with the kids,” says Ted.