Toasts from Anel y Erika’s wedding

Photo by Jorge Sandoval

In celebration of the historic June 26 ruling from the Supreme Court finding a Constitutional right to marriage for same-sex couples, we’re posting stories and photos from our Spring wedding issue, starting with this series of toasts that were given last year at the Isla Mujeres ceremony of Erika Casasola and Anel Flores:

As scientists try to figure out where in our bodies love emanates from–whether it is the hypothalamus, the lizard part of our brain, or a series of chemical reactions–and as spiritual guides tell us love is something greater than us, something that overcomes us, something that lives in our soul, awakened only by others, I stand here, bearing witness to your union, knowing that, regardless of where love comes from, wherever it resides, this much is true:

Love is not monolithic. Love is not ordinary. Love is not without agency. Love is a construction, something we mold, we shape, we imagine, we forge.

This love between you, Erika y Anel, is a love poets spend our lifetimes trying to understand, to capture, to articulate in every attempted poem.

This love you have is a love of journey, un amor de vereda, de camino largo. You have taken the offering of love and shaped it, imagined it, manifested it into a love that inspires, that enamors those who bear witness.

You have constructed a love that is as contagious as your laughter, that invites others to bask and dance, that sets a bar, that evokes longing and belonging, a love that inspires manifestos, movements, and possibility. Yours is a revolutionary love. Un amor rebelde, incandescente, amor de soldaderas.  Your love is an offering to the ancestors and a codex for the generations to follow.

I thank you for the honor, for the blessing that it is to walk this path with you, to bear witness, to be counted among the many, many poets who find inspiration in your fierceness, your courage, your self-determination, and the beautiful way you look at each other.

Just as Coyolxauhqui and Yemayá have forged love and made love for and to each other, may you, Anel, y tú, Erika, continue forging love and making love for and to each other for as long as their poetry.

–Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, San Francisco Editor of Korima Press, poet, author, and Macondo Writer


In all the glory, basking, baking under the corn-colored orb, that giant, brilliant, chiny tortilla in the sky, we all find ourselves collected here today, in this moment. And Josie and I wondered; we didn’t just wonder, we STEVIE WONDERED, because that’s how serious we are about wondering. Anyway, Josie and I wondered about all the different paths that each of us has traveled and brought us to this moment and just how magical and fascinating and beautiful it is to witness the union of our beloved friends, sisters, mothers, cousins, comadres, Anel y Erika.

Anel y Erika, two lovely, compassionate and talented mujeres, Josie and I are honored to be in your life. We stand before you and humbly encourage you to stay connected. Pay attention to each other. As your lives continue to grow always remember what bought you here. Don’t allow yourselves to become complacent in your beautiful love. Your union is ever changing; evolving. Don’t get comfortable. Be about the change. Be about the growth as individuals and as a couple. Today it’s magic. Tomorrow it might be gone.

Anel y Erika, we love you and look forward to growing old with you, especially since we plan to be living next door to you at the Dinah Shore Retirement Home for Lesbians.

– Gloria Sanchez, UIW grad and award-winning actress, and her wife, Josie Molina, director of Pediatric and Congenital Heart Services at University Health System


It’s difficult to give words of wisdom to two people we love and admire so much.  Two people whose relationship we aspire to be like; two people who have been an essential part of our success as a couple because every day you walk as an example to everyone of what love is supposed to look like, and how lucky we all might be if we could just get an ounce of what you have together.

So we decided to remind you of a few things that you already know, that you’ve taught us, and that we hold within our hearts every day. We believe that this list will continue to grow your love.

  1. Anel, as you know, femmes are wild by nature. And sometimes that wild heart follows us into our dreams. And you may do something in Erika’s dream that is so wrong she wakes up with the fury of a thousand femmes. Stay cool, apologize, and don’t do it again.
  2. Erika, butches have no instincts, but I’m sure you’ve already figured that one out. Sometimes Anel might not notice if someone is hitting on her or she might not be paying attention when you need outfit advice. Just know that her intentions are always good. Be patient and forgiving in these moments because you will experience them for the rest of your life!
  3. Anel, when making dinner reservations, keep in mind that 7 p.m. really means 8 p.m. A femme can never be rushed! But remember–its worth the wait.
  4. Erika, while butches have no instincts, we still need guidance, so continue to give Anel clear, step-by-step instructions. Maybe a map? She’ll be completely lost if you don’t.

And to both of you–you’ve taught us that love can be hard, but so good.

As long as you continue to fight for each other, you’ll be OK. Be patient with one another, something that comes with time and practice. Growing as a unit, together, can be such a beautiful journey. Breadsticks and Thai food make everything better.

Say what you mean and mean what you say. None of this passive-aggressive bullshit.

Erika is always right; even when she’s wrong, she’s right. She’ll admit it later.

If there is something you want–go for it. You can’t be afraid, especially with each other. Love each other deeply; keep discovering each other intimately.

And during difficult times, go back to that moment you met and why you fell in love. Anel, remember the way Erika put her hands right down the ass of your pants when you first danced. Erika, remember Anel’s laugh and how infectious it was when you first heard it.

Finally, we have a few practices of our own that we’d like to lend you:

  1. Come up with a secret handshake.  Its really fun to do and will always make you laugh and people think it’s really cute.
  2. Create a gratitude box. Write notes to thank each other for the little things you do, throw them in the box, and then read them to each other.
  3. Make time for just the two of you–always!
  4. Go on food adventures and eat everything in your path.


Anel–I’m so blessed to have encountered such a wonderful friend like you. Through our friendship I’m learning what the definition of a true buxcha is. I’m learning from you what it means to be confident, in control and unafraid to chase dreams and make them a reality. I’m so honored to be a part of your special day. It brings me so much joy to see you and your beautiful bride as happy as can be. You both deserve the world. I love you ladies. Take it all in, and enjoy each moment.

Erika–there are not many women like you in this world, and I am so fortunate and so grateful to call you my friend. I have learned so much from you about strength, vulnerability, believing in myself, and having the confidence to say and do whatever I want. Words cannot fulfill what my heart wants to say.  I love you, I’m so happy for you, and you deserve all of this.

Congratulations, we love you, and just because you are married now do not for one second think we are gonna stop coming over and cuddling with you in your bed!

– Guardians of the Jota Galaxy Candace Lopez–director of development at Safe Place in Austin, TX–and Marisa Rivas, student recruitment coordinator for the University of Houston-Victoria



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