Twenty-four years later, Nicholas Cardello and Kurt English are still in love and proud.
The married couple went viral this week when they shared side-by-side photographs, shot more than two decades apart at Washington, D.C.’s LGBTQ march.
Nicholas, on the left, told Mashable that the first photo was taken at the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation in 1993 when he and Kurt rallied alongside 1 million other people.
Based on a friend’s suggestion, the couple recreated the photo this year at the Equality March for Unity & Pride. And it’s pretty apparent that the love between Nicholas and Kurt is still strong as ever.
Ever since the photo was first posted on Reddit two days ago, thousands of people have been awestruck by the cuteness.
Nicholas and Kurt first met in 1992, a year before they posed for the first photo. Online commenters commended the couple on maintaining a strong relationship for 25 years — Nicholas is impressed too, saying, “the structure of our society is set up to pull us apart!”
The couple, who married in Boston in 2008, wants “to promote positive change in society” and feel it’s important to boost LGBTQ representation by participating in Pride events annually.
It’s clear that a lot has changed for LGBTQ rights in the 24 years that divides the photos. Nicholas tells Mashable that they take part in Pride events to show thanks to “all those who came before us and paved the way for the rights we have today.”
The couple got married for a second time when same-sex marriage became legal in their home state of Florida in 2015. Nicholas describes the impact that marriage equality has had on their lives.
“We were able to go back and refile taxes as a married couple,” he says. “I was able to get health insurance on my husband’s work-site health plan. We were afforded all the rights which are automatic with marriage and didn’t have to incur the expense of jumping through the legal hoops to replicate those rights. We also could not be denied access to each other if we were in the hospital and would benefit from each other’s Social Security Benefits.”
While celebrating the strides towards equal rights for the LGBTQ community, Nicholas still recognizes the changes still needed.
“In spite of these amazing successes, there [still] exists no federal or state workplace protections for LGBTQ individuals,” he notes. Nicholas also calls out suicide as “a real threat for LGBTQ youth,” and the “proliferation of Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) laws as a backlash to these hard won gains.”
With the photos gaining more than 400,000 likes and over 100,000 retweets, Nicholas says that the couple is very touched by the overwhelmingly positive responses they’ve received.
The fact that so many people now see Nicholas and Kurt as #relationshipgoals has the couple “keenly aware we cannot take what we have for granted. A loving partner can be a difficult thing to find, once you do you must protect it and nurture it.”
“We need to get more images like this out there so the youth today can have positive role models.”
Overall, Nicholas believes there needs to be more representation of LGBTQ couples “just being couples.” Coming out is a continuous process. Even deciding to start posting photos of him and Kurt together holding hands and kissing was a major decision.
Nicholas says, “I realized that this was just another closet we had to come out of…We need to get more images like this out there so the youth today can have positive role models.”
There are still many fights to win and the couple encourages massive attendance at Pride because “it allows all of us to come together to learn from each other and embrace our differences.”
Love on, Nicholas and Kurt — we’ll be “awwwwing” your relationship for another 24 years.