Ed Butler & Les Schoof
Ed Butler (left), 55, and Les Schoof (right), 53, of New Hampshire, knew each other for several years before becoming a couple. They met at the Charles Playhouse in Boston, and started dating shortly thereafter. They have been together for 26 years, and have lived in Dorchester and Brookline.
Innkeepers of The Notchland Inn in Hart’s Location for more than 10 years, they have hosted the town and the media for the first votes cast in Presidential elections. In up-state New Hampshire, living in a town of 38 citizens, Les and Ed have enjoyed the broad support of their neighbors. “Everyone recognizes and accepts us as a committed couple, and many understand our strong desire to get married,” said Ed.
The couple also have the support of their families, with Les’ father often staying with them at the inn for two weeks at a time. Ed’s parents visit regularly and both of their large, extended family includes nieces and nephews who regularly stay at the inn. And because Ed is a Justice of the Peace, his nephew has asked him to preside over his wedding this summer.
While the couple doesn’t anticipate problems in and around their corner of New Hampshire, they also do a fair amount of traveling. And it was during a visit to New York City when Ed was suddenly hospitalized, that they faced the pain and anguish of exclusion. Les was literally asked to leave the emergency room, and it crystalized for them that marriage would offer them the protections they lacked, particularly as they get older.
Before becoming Innkeepers, Les and Ed worked in a variety of jobs in Boston. After receiving a nursing degree from Boston University, Ed worked in several hospitals for 10 years and got a master’s degree relating to long-term care. Eventually, he became head of the long-term care AIDS programs with the Village Nursing Home in New York City. Les worked at the Charles Playhouse, then moved on to the Cincinnati Playhouse, and later managed the Joffrey Ballet and America Ballet Theatre.
Les and Ed were denied the right to marry in Somerville, Massachusetts after the Attorney General’s cease and desist order of May 21, 2004.