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One man has decided to show the world just what same-sex love looks like—one local couple at a time.

Steve McCann has been organizing the nightlife site PhillyGayCalendar for 10 years. A virtual to-do for the man or woman about town, the site focuses heavily on club happenings in the city’s Gayborhood. He’s put out a new project, though, and it’s about more than just a good time.

“Most of the site is dedicated to the single life,” McCann tells Philly Now, “nightclubs, parties, singles mixers, calendars models. So, for February, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we wanted to show that there are some great couples in the community.” To show those couples off, McCann has a simple page highlighting what same-sex love looks like in Philadelphia.

To collect the couples, McCann says he reached out to his friends in relationships. Quickly, his inquiries generated interest, the Internet did its thing, and couples started to spontaneously submit their information, too.

So far, nearly 200 couples have submitted pictures. Their relationships range from 38 years to three months. Many have met in person, like in coffee shops or bars. Others have met through Facebook or apps like Scruff. All of them, though, are in love.

Jim and Richie Madden (Photo courtesy of Jim Madden).

Jim and Richie Madden (Photo courtesy of Jim Madden).

Jim Madden is one half of one of those couples. He and his husband, Richie, have been married since, well, it’s complicated.

“We met April 23, 1995, at the Bike Stop [bar],” Madden recalls. “We held our ‘Holy’ Union Ceremony Dec. 6, 1997 [and we] eloped and were married in Connecticut Dec. 6, 2009.” Madden’s circuitous route to legal marriage certainly took time, but not because he had cold feet: American society took so long to catch up to his commitment to his husband. After all, this will be the first Valentine’s Day in Pennsylvania history on which gay marriage is legal.

Madden says he submitted his and his husband’s photo to PhillyGayCalendar after he saw the project coming together online. “I saw a lot of couples that had been together for such brief periods,” he explains, and he wanted to show folks that love can endure.

Successful relationships take a lot of work, though, he says.

“I think love can be immediate, but it’s real when you have to climb the heights and delve into the depths together to prove it,” he maintains. He says that caring and selflessness is key.

“Caring about the welfare of the person you are with and making that your job,” Madden insists, “can make you gracious. When you succeed in their happiness, that becomes yours.”

About The Author

Contributing columnist

Josh Kruger is an award-winning writer and commentator in Philadelphia. His @PhillyWeekly column, “The Uncomfortable Whole,” took the 2014 First Place Spotlight Award for weekly newspaper commentary from the Society of Professional Journalists and the 2014 Second Place Award for weekly newspaper commentary in the United States and Canada from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. He also blogs daily for PW on various topics including queer culture and news, mass transit, politics, crime, drugs, HIV/AIDS, civil liberties, activism, media and everything else Philly.

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