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Court Decision Spurs Fresno Marriage Proposal

Ezra Romero
Valley Public Radio
Credit Ezra Romro / Valley Public Radio
Valley Public Radio
Naomi Hendrix and Rio Waller also joined the rally in support of same-sex marriage in from of City Hall on June 26, 2013.

  Today's U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage was cheered by activists throughout the state, including in Fresno. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra Romero reports from Fresno’s Tower District one same sex couple chose to celebrate the justice’s decision with a marriage proposal.


When Rio Waller woke up this morning and heard the Supreme Court’s decision, she was moved to tears. 

“When I saw  what happened I started crying and laughing and I was by myself because my partner runs a market,” Waller says.

Waller and her partner of 16 years, Naomi Hendrix, had a commitment ceremony a number of years back, but the court’s ruling prompted her to take her relationship to a new level.  Hendrix runs a raw-vegan food tent at a weekly farmers market at Kaiser Permanente hospital in North Fresno.

“I was moved to do something, I thought I’d just run down there and hug her, and then I thought I want to ask her to marry me," Waller says.

Hendrix said yes.

"I just wanted to express to her that I've wanted to do this for so long and didn't have the right," Waller says.

The couple chose not to marry in 2008, when gay marriage was first legalized in the state. But when Waller surprised her partner at the farmers market she says a new reality began to take place.

“I just wanted to express to her that I’ve wanted to do this for so long and didn’t have the right," Waller says.

Waller sent out a mass of spur of the moment texts and social media messages to friends and family. They all surprised Hendrix at the market. 

“The essence of what I said is that I love you so much and I have felt married to you for so long and now the government and the state recognize that it’s true – that what we have is affirmed," Waller says.

Waller said she hopes that attitudes on equality in Central California evolve and rights for same sex couples are celebrated.

Ezra David Romero is an award-winning radio reporter and producer. His stories have run on Morning Edition, Morning Edition Saturday, Morning Edition Sunday, All Things Considered, Here & Now, The Salt, Latino USA, KQED, KALW, Harvest Public Radio, etc.
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