Music publicist and advocate for LBGT rights Shane Bitney Crone was in Washington two weeks ago when the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and left standing a ruling overturning Proposition 8, clearing the way for same-sex marriages in California.
“It was a surreal experience and a very bittersweet one,” Crone, 27, said over the phone from his home in L.A.
Because of DOMA and Proposition 8, Crone was never able to marry his long-time companion, Tom Bridegroom, who died in May 2011 when he fell off the roof of an apartment building while taking photos.
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The two had met through a mutual friend shortly after Crone arrived in Los Angeles from his hometown in Montana and gotten a job as a production assistant at “Entertainment Tonight.” Bridegroom, who was 29 when he died, had been an actor and co-host on MTV’s “The X-Effect.”
“Tom and I were waiting for marriage,” Crone said. Though the couple had their own music PR business and owned a house, neither had a will. And as Crone found out after Bridegroom died, he had no rights accorded married couples because he was not recognized as Bridegroom’s partner or immediate family.
Crone was also prevented from attending Bridegroom’s funeral in his Indiana hometown by Bridegroom's parents, who never accepted the fact that their son was gay. Crone’s name wasn't mentioned in Bridegroom’s obituary notice or memorial service. He finally got to say goodbye to his partner by visiting the gravesite in secret.
A year later, Crone posted “It Could Happen to You” on YouTube, a heartbreaking 10-minute video that chronicled their relationship and the aftermath of Bridegroom’s death. The video went viral, attracting about 3.4 million views.