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Damaris Navarro & Gloria Searson

Damaris Navarro & Gloria Searson

Damaris Navarro, 47, and Gloria Searson, 48, of West Haven, have been dedicated partners for 13 years. They are committed to raising four children.

When Gloria and Damaris met, Gloria had two children, and today their family has grown to include the couple’s goddaughter and Gloria’s nephew. The children, who call Gloria and Damaris their parents, are talented and energetic. Two are currently in college; one is applying for college, and the fourth attends a magnet school.

While the couple had a civil union in Vermont in 2001 not being able to marry has presented a variety of problems for them. “We have worked hard to provide our children with a stable and loving home. Not being able to marry makes Damaris and I feel like outsiders and substandard citizens.”

“Although having a civil union was important for us,” Gloria said, “it was a bitter pill to swallow because we knew that it was not the same thing as a real marriage.” When Damaris had surgery in 2004, Gloria was denied access to the “family only” recovery room. Additionally, Gloria has been unable to list Damaris as a spouse on her health insurance. That leaves the couple with two options: forego coverage, or pay $400 each pay period for domestic partnership benefits.

Both women are dedicated to helping people with HIV. Damaris is a Prevention Program Manager for Hispanos Unidos in New Haven. Gloria is an advocacy relations manager for Abbott Laboratories.