Arts & Culture

These brides never gave up on family, even when family wouldn’t support their wedding

Jillian and Mollie Nunez married in May in New Orleans City Park.
Jillian and Mollie Nunez married in May in New Orleans City Park. jmitchell@sunherald.com

Mollie and Jillian Nunez met on an online dating app, although they promised each other they’d keep that a secret.

“We lie because were embarrassed to say that we met on Tinder,” Mollie said from the couch inside their Long Beach home, holding hands with her wife. The Nunezes married in May under the shade of an oak tree in New Orleans City Park. They chose to have a private ceremony — they invited Mollie’s niece and Jillian’s best friend to the nuptials.

Mollie and Jillian met in person for the first time when Mollie invited Jillian to her family’s Halloween party.

“You’ll be meeting my family, and they don’t necessarily know yet, so I’ll just introduce you as a friend,” Mollie told Jillian. Jillian was not yet out to her family, either.

It was a brilliant plan, Jillian said. Mollie’s family loved her. And Mollie and Jillian loved each other. It wasn’t soon after they started dating when Mollie said she knew she wanted to ask Jillian to be her wife.

But their love story isn’t that simple.

Mollie told her parents she was gay, and their response was overwhelmingly positive. But when she asked her mom if she’d participate in their wedding if she proposed, her response wasn’t what Mollie was expecting.

“She said, ‘No, I don’t think so,’ followed by, ‘Y’all can get married?’” Mollie said in an interview for Out Here In America, a podcast produced by Sun Herald and McClatchy that explores the lives of LGBTQ people in the Deep South and America’s heartland. You can subscribe now on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

Jillian’s family had a similar reaction.

“They were very blatant in saying this is not right, we will not support this, we will not be at wedding...we will not have any part of this because it’s wrong,” Jillian said.

But Mollie and Jillian did not give up on their families.

“Even though we wanted to shut down and be angry, ultimately, we still just want our families to be a part of things,” Mollie said. “Our family is important so we need to keep them as part of our lives.”

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • Mollie and Jillian’s coming out stories and how it shaped their faith in God
  • About the growth of Mollie and Jillian’s relationship and why they chose to have a private wedding ceremony
  • How two families came together as one at Mollie and Jillian’s wedding reception
  • Why the Nunezes decided to never, ever give up on family

New episodes publish every Monday. Have an idea for OHIA? Send questions and suggestions to jmitchell@sunherald.com.

Justin Mitchell: 228-604-0705, @JustinMitchell_

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