Mom, and Maybe the Supreme Court, Said It Was Time to Get Married

After hearing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Amanda Sayre Caskey and Skeeter Barker held each other on their couch in Oakland, Calif., and through tears, made the decision to marry. “Under a new Supreme Court, we know we might lose marriage equality,” Ms. Caskey said.

Justice Ginsburg’s death also prompted a call from Ms. Caskey’s mother, Kathy Caskey, a retired schoolteacher, usually not one to impose her opinion. “It’s time, you two need to get married,” she told them.

But despite their solid eight-year relationship, at least one of the two harbored complicated feelings toward marriage. As a child, Ms. Caskey, 43, had “the usual fairy-tale princess fantasies” about weddings. But as an adult, her left-leaning politics and commitment to feminism had kept her from a legal commitment even as she and Ms. Barker formed a devoted partnership and family. “I don’t believe the state should have a say in our personal lives,” she said. “And I still don’t.”

Yet for Ms. Barker it was different. “Amanda is joyful, open, and honest,” she said. “The more time I spent with her, the more I fell in love with her.”

“Someday, I’m going to marry you,” she announced not long after they first started dating.

In 2010, two met through Bay Area yoga circles, where Ms. Barker, 57, a designer for a specialty leather company and a yoga teacher, is well known. Since the early 2000s, she has offered yoga classes focused on supporting L.G.B.T. and nonbinary students. For several years, the two crossed paths in overlapping social circles enjoying a platonic connection.

But in the summer of 2012, romance flared. Over their first long weekend together, conversation uncovered both compatibility and differences between them.

Ms. Caskey grew up in Oakland, Calif., where her parents still live. She studied at the Berkeley Herbal Center and is now a clinical herbalist in private practice. Ms. Barker was raised in Devon, England, and left home at a teenager to travel. In the early 1980s, she lived at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in Berkshire, England, which was formed as a protest against nuclear weapons. After a stint in London, she made her home in San Francisco.

Clear communication became paramount to their partnership. From the get-go, Ms. Barker was direct, decisive and kind, the type of qualities that Ms. Caskey admired and continues to appreciate. In 2013, Ms. Caskey committed to co-parenting Ms. Barker’s adopted son, Moses, now 11, forming a family with Ms. Barker and her former domestic partner, Saun-Toy Trotter and Ms. Trotter’s partner, Jaron Browne.

Their Nov. 12 online ceremony was officiated by Dalia Zatkin, a deputy marriage commissioner for Alameda County in California and held in the garden at Ms. Caskey’s childhood Oakland home. Ms. Caskey wore an ivory vintage-style dress offered by a neighbor on a “Buy Nothing” email group. Ms. Barker wore a flowered shirt with an indigo-dyed waistcoat that she had refashioned from a jacket she found in a thrift store.

With seven in-person guests, including Ms. Caskey’s mother and father, Phil Caskey, and Moses, and with 50 people watching online from as far away as England, the couple exchanged rings. Together they vowed to “give acceptance, appreciation and affection.”

“I will make my heart be your shelter,” said Ms. Barker, through tears. “I have no greater gift to give.”

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