Brandi Carlile Pens Emotional Message About ‘Damaging And Humiliating’ Discrimination Faced When Marrying Wife Catherine Shepherd

Brandi Carlile is opening up about her life and experiences as a gay woman.

The country singer, who married wife Catherine Shepherd in 2012, penned an emotional message on Instagram to celebrate the last few days of Pride month.

When Carlile and Sheperd tied the knot in 2012, same-sex marriage was still illegal in much of the United States; however, they  were able to marry in Carlile’s home state of Washington after Referendum 74 passed, legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.

When they held a civil ceremony in Sheperd’s native England, Carlile writes, the couple faced systemic discrimination.

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“When we held our civil partnership ceremony in the U.K., we had to stand under a sign that stated ‘marriage is between a man and a woman,'” Carlile wrote.

“We also had to abide by a law that ‘will not permit the use of any wording, readings or music which may have religious connotations’ during our ceremony,” Carlile continued. “This hit me particularly hard as a person of faith.”

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When Catherine and I got married in 2012, DOMA was still in place and same sex marriage was still illegal in the United States of America. When we held our civil partnership ceremony in the UK, we had to stand under a sign that stated “marriage is between a man and a woman”. We also had to abide by a law that “will not permit the use of any wording, readings or music which may have religious connotations” during our ceremony. This hit me particularly hard as a person of faith. When our first daughter Evangeline was born in 2014, I was listed as “the father” on my daughter’s birth certificate because there simply wasn’t a space for me to be a mother within my marriage and family. And it wasn’t until Catherine was pregnant with our second daughter in 2018, that she was finally awarded the right to become an American Citizen based on our marriage of 6 years. These are just a few of the challenges we faced but believe me, there were more. And we are the lucky ones! But I can’t really describe how damaging and humiliating it was to try and build a life together and raise our children with such limited fundamental rights, recognition or protections in place for our family. However, we’ve come a long way… As we are learning, progress doesn’t only move in one direction. Let’s keep pushing forward for LGBTQ+ people so that it doesn’t continue to move backwards. As we celebrate Pride this month, let’s not forget that transgender and gender non-conforming women of color like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Stormé DeLarverie and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy were among the first people to resist police brutality and fight for liberation along with their fellow LGBTQ+ citizens during the Stonewall riots. They fought for us, let’s keep fighting for them. Happy Pride everyone 🏳️‍🌈 📸 @maria.m.narino

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“These are just a few of the challenges we faced but believe me, there were more. And we are the lucky ones!” she added. “But I can’t really describe how damaging and humiliating it was to try and build a life together and raise our children with such limited fundamental rights, recognition or protections in place for our family.”

The couple are parents to two children, Evangeline and Elijah.

“Happy Pride everyone,” she concluded.

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