ESSENCE Features Same-Sex Couple in February 2012 Issue

ESSENCE, a monthly magazine for African American women, spotlights a same-sex couple in their “Find Love at Any Age” feature in the February 2012 issue.

The 8-page spread, which includes various couples that have found love at different stages in their lives, also tells the story of Audrey Smaltz, 74, and Gail Marquis, 61, and their unexpected courtship.

Gail, a former professional basketball player who had won a silver medal in the 1976 Olympics, spotted Audrey, a former model, at a personal development seminar where Audrey was presenting. Captivated by Audrey’s energy, Gail signed up for another seminar she was teaching and approached her at the end of the class. The two clicked instantly. 

Gail simply says they are best friends: “We love each other’s company.” The couple agree that they haven’t had a lot of hurdles to overcome, mainly because, Audrey says, she did not care what anybody thought. “Some friends said it’s a fling; it won’t last,” she recalls. “But I didn’t care. I’ve always told people that I am not a lesbian, I am in love with Gail, but you can put a title on it if you want.” The only person Audrey sought for a blessing? Her pastor. “I kept trying to get an appointment. It took me five months,” she says. Her pastor had only one question: “Does she know God?” he asked. “That’s all that matters.” ("Love at Any Age," ESSENCE, Feb. 2012)

Audrey proposed six months after they met back in 1999. When New York passed marriage equality last June, they held a wedding in Central Park along with 100 friends.

GLAAD applauds ESSENCE for continuing to shine light on LGBT love and lives. Show your support of their inclusive coverage by purchasing ESSENCE’s February issue (on stands now) and tweeting this message: “Thank you @essencemagazine for shining light on LGBT love and lives in your Feb. 2012 issue!”