Steve Byrne and Chris Zulauf

It’s not About Location: It’s About a Lifetime Commitment

Steve Byrne and Chris Zulauf come from similar backgrounds but from different parts of the country. Steve, a native of Corpus Cristi, has lived in Houston for 23 years and Chris is from Ida Grove, Iowa and has lived in Houston for nine years.

They met after having both come out – with no family discontent. Chris came out in his early 30s, and his family “wasn’t too shocked.”  Steve, while he knew he was gay in high school, came out slowly to his mom about five years ago. She took it fine, he said, but at first, “kept it quiet.”

They met in a bar, and if you believe in destiny, theirs was love at first sight. They’ve never really been apart since. After four months, Chris gave up his apartment and moved in with Steve; they were “official.” After three years, Steve surprised Chris with rings and a proposal. They joked about it before it happened, but when Steve actually took the steps that would eventually lead to their marriage, Chris was not expecting it. It took them two more years to get married, and at the time. they had to leave Texas to be legally married in Washington, DC.

“Regardless of whether it was legal in Texas, it was more about showing our commitment to each other,” Steve said. “We wanted to demonstrate that commitment to everyone.” They chose Washington DC because it was the first place they went together outside of Texas. They got their marriage license on the fifth anniversary of the first day they met.

As for planning? There wasn’t a lot of pre-planning before the big day. Neither Steve nor Chris are big on planning. They had a friend on the ground in DC who helped with on-site logistics, but as far as the location, they figured it out after they arrived. They went to the Smithsonian and asked a worker if they could hold their wedding there and she said people did it all the time. A friend in the fashion industry took them on a whirlwind shopping trip and style their clothing for the day. The reception was held at a local Italian restaurant with tons of food. “Anyone who was local went home with bags of leftovers,” Steve said.

Both agree they are happy they chose to make a lifelong commitment to each other and will probably not plan any kind of additional celebration now that same sex marriage is legal in Texas. They are just happy that others will not have to plan their marriages outside of the state, and now, across the United States, same sex couples are able to legally get married and show the same kind of commitment they showed to each other.

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