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Couples Chronicles ó Interview 17
Always a Listening Ear and a Welcoming Hug
by Demian
First published in July 1988
© January 7, 2018, Demian

Alan Hultquist, 29, and Brendan Hadash, 36, have been in a committed relationship for four years [in 1988]. They live in Barton, Vermont, where Alan is a special education teacher, and Brendan is a Unitarian Universalist Minister as well as a recreation director at a nursing home. They had a Holy Union ceremony on March 30, 1985.

How did you first meet?

Brendan: Alan came to a meeting of a gay menís group I ran at the church where I was serving.

Alan: We were not impressed with each other.

Brendan: My first impression of Alan was, ďDoesnít this guy ever say anything?Ē

Alan: My impression of Brendan was, ďDoesnít this man ever shut up?Ē

Did those impressions change?

Brendan: To some extent. The day after we first met, we started dating.

Alan: I had gone back to ask Brendan how he, as a Unitarian minister, had reconciled his gayness with his religion. I was having a hard time with this, and itís still a struggle.

What has worked for me has been getting into a relationship with Brendan, and feeling the love that is there. The first year was very difficult.

Brendan: One difficulty we had was trying to change each other. I was trying to convert Alan away from his fundamental type of Christianity, which I thought was not conducive to his well-being. After a while, I gave up and just accepted Alan for who he was.

What are your religious backgrounds?

Brendan: I was raised Roman Catholic and went to a seminary for two years to become a priest. I then went to the Unitarian Universalist Church and decided to become a Unitarian minister.

Alan: I was brought up as a Lutheran.

Has there been conflict because of your differing backgrounds?

Alan: There were difficulties in adjusting to the relationship. I felt that Brendan was placing the church much higher than me, which I resented. It seemed he wasnít as committed to the relationship, and used the excuse that it would take a while to get used to living with somebody.

He would disappear without consulting me or telling me he was going somewhere.

Had you been in relationships before?

Alan: No.

Brendan: I have been in relationships with women and men. I had serial, ďmainĒ relationships. This relationship is ďmonogamous.Ē

Alan: This is a long-term commitment.

How do you set up your financial arrangements?

Brendan: We have both joint and separate bank accounts. We take care of our own expenses, but alternate on buying things. Alan has been working more steadily than I have, so heís been buying more groceries.

Alan: Brendan gave me a year off when I was burnt out. It was wonderful.

Brendan: He returned the favor the following year, and I had a year off.

Why did you have a Holy Union?

Brendan: We were committed to one another and wanted a ceremony celebrating that. We had just been to a Unitarian Universalist national meeting, during the summer of 1984. They voted to officially authorize Holy Union services for gay people. Immediately after the vote, we asked a minister friend to do our ceremony.

We had over forty straight and gay friends present. It was like a regular service: We wore tuxes, it was catered, we did vows and lit a candle together. A friend of Alanís sang and I sang via tape. I knew Iíd be ó Iím the one who cries at everything.

None of our blood family members attended.

Alan: I donít consider myself single. The Union service was a marriage.

As a minister, was there any reaction to your marriage?

Brendan: I was not out to my three churches at the time of the ceremony. The president of one congregation called my superior to complain about ďthis gay wedding.Ē Of course, my superior was the one who did our ceremony.

My superior explained that it was official church policy that we accept and promote gay men and lesbians having Holy Unions. It was a very rough time with that particular congregation, but they have become accepting.

Are you out to your families?

Alan: Yes, though I donít get any support. Iíve been disowned by my siblings. My father calls about every other week, but until recently, he hadnít mentioned Brendan. Previously, when I brought up Brendan, there would be complete silence on the other end of the line.

Brendan: My mother would prefer that I be married to a woman, but other than that, she is supportive. She has lived with us at various periods. When my father died, she moved in for about six months.

I donít think I ever officially came out to her. Over time, she figured it out. Sheís a smart woman.

When did you first know you were gay?

Alan: I had known since I was about 12. I saw That Certain Summer on TV and knew I wanted that type of relationship with another man. I never had sex with anybody until I was 24, just before I met Brendan.

Brendan: I was 25 when I first started thinking about being gay. I had already left the Roman Catholic seminary when I first started having relationships with men. I struggled for a long time trying to figure whether I was bisexual or gay. I came out with a 90 percent gay.

What do you have for personal support?

Alan: I have close friends, both male and female. The gay menís group was supportive, though itís no longer functioning.

Brendan: Iím active as secretary for Vermont Cares, the statewide AIDS organization, and attend the state gay rights organization meetings. I get support from these groups, as well as from friends.

What do you think of your relationship?

Alan: Brendan is the best thing that ever happened to me.

Brendan: Tell me more!

Alan: The love, understanding, and tolerance ó he puts up with a lot. Iím probably, at times, one of the bitchiest queens anybody could ever meet. He doesnít complain.

Brendan: Iím so much in love with Alan, itís like Iím still on the honeymoon. There is so much love coming back, itís wonderful.

Alan: Whether itís been a rotten or a wonderful day, we always try to be there for each other, with a listening ear and a welcoming hug.

Brendan: Lots of hugs and kisses. I donít know how many times a day we say ďI love you.Ē

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