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Whatever the Ruling, Love Reigns Supreme For Richmond Couple 

click to enlarge Ben Janosik and Ronnie Cash, a Richmond couple for 37 years, celebrate their wedding with a ceremony at Art Works studio and gallery as the Supreme Court begins weighing the constitutionality of same-sex marriage.

Ben Janosik and Ronnie Cash, a Richmond couple for 37 years, celebrate their wedding with a ceremony at Art Works studio and gallery as the Supreme Court begins weighing the constitutionality of same-sex marriage.

It’s not like Ben Janosik and Ronnie Cash said to themselves: Hey, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage this week. Let’s tie the knot!

They’re way too laid back for marriage-as-a-political-statement. The truth is that once Virginia started recognizing same-sex marriages in October, they thought: Something once unattainable to us no longer is, and we have been inseparable, so let’s make it official.

They set the date for April 30, the anniversary of their 37th year as a couple.

Cash, a convenience store worker, was 19 and Janosik, a printer, 20, when they met in a thunderclap of attraction. The first day together was followed by another and another, until days became years spent in mutual compatibility and appreciation of Jefferson Airplane, home cooking and Santa Claus.

“It helps that we are best friends,” Cash says. “That’s the most important thing.”

“And we love each other,” Janosik says. “Still.”

“We knew it right away,” Cash says. “When we saw each other we just knew. We’d both had several boyfriends before.”

“Most of them ending in disaster,” Janosik says.

After 37 years together, getting married is more of a practical act — taxes, inheritance, medical decisions — than a symbolic one. Still, it’s legal expression of their love and commitment. At the rehearsal, while Cash repeats the words of the Rev. Terry Menefee Gau, he chokes up with his pledge to share with Janosik “all that I have and all that I am.”

“I think marriage makes it more permanent,” Cash says after the rehearsal.

“We know it’s been permanent,” Janosik says.

“But everybody has to recognize us now,” Cash says.

So, they hope the Supreme Court will uphold same-sex marriage as a constitutional right, they say, in the name of equality and fairness. But whatever the outcome, “it’ll never keep us apart,” Cash says. “We’ve always been together and that’s what matters the most.”

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