For years, acclaimed singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile kept her personal life exactly that — personal. As other gay entertainers made pronouncements about their relationships, Carlile, while not hiding her sexuality, kept the public focus on her music.
But with gay marriage embroiled in the political landscape, Carlile is taking a stand, and on Saturday, she married her partner, Catherine Shepherd.
“It was a crazy feeling while I was filling out the paperwork because I felt like I was breaking a law, like somebody was going to come in and say, ‘You know you can’t have this,’ ” said Carlile of getting her marriage license. “It was so exciting. And her mom and dad were there and it was just really special.”
The couple had a small ceremony Saturday in Boston, the first of three the couple plans to hold to celebrate their marriage. Carlile admitted she never thought she’d have the chance to celebrate love this way.
“It’s so surprising,” Carlile said, “and so hard fought. … I wouldn’t have been able to picture myself married or successful or pursuing my dreams if there hadn’t been other people that had done it before me, like role models, and that’s why talking about it is so important. If a 14- or 15-year-old girl reads this in a small town who’s gay … there’s no reason she should stop dreaming about a white wedding because I didn’t.”
That overarching sense of freedom is informing every part of Carlile’s life, from the recording of her latest album Bear Creek to her charitable work to her ideas about taking a stand in politically exciting times.
Speaking out is a personal thing for Carlile, but it’s also a public act as election season nears.
“There’s a political undercurrent around equality right now that just demands a voice, voices to rise up and say, ‘Yeah, I’m one of these people too, and I believe this thing as well,’ ” Carlile said. “So that’s what we’re doing right now. We’re on the cusp of a civil rights movement and so I have to be a part of it and I want to be.”
The Associated Press