Harris Wofford, a former US senator, has revealed he is to wed his male partner after finding love again after his fifty-year marriage to his wife.
According to Daily Mail, the 90-year-old wrote a moving essay about the tragic loss of his wife Clare Lindgren to leukemia in 1996, and beginning a new chapter of his life with Matthew Charlton – who is 50 years his junior.
Wofford, a Pennsylvania senator from 1991 to 1995 and an adviser to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., met his wife Clare while serving in the U.S. Air Force during the Second World War, the New York Times reports.
They married in 1948 and went on to have three children together. She even gave up her job to become his all-out campaigner, his ‘best critic’ and ‘best friend’.
‘Our romance and adventure continued for five decades,’ Wofford wrote.
Sadly, that adventure came to an end on January 3, 1996 when Clare died from acute leukemia.
At the age of 70, Wofford was left heartbroken and sure he would ‘never again feel the kind of love Clare and I shared’.
But he was wrong.
Five years later, he met Matthew by chance while swimming off a beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
And despite being decades apart in age, he said they instantly ‘clicked.’
Wofford and his late wife
The couple fell in love and Wofford, said he did not label himself as ‘gay’ or ‘straight’, he was simply happy to have found love for a second time.
‘To some, our bond is entirely natural, to others it comes as a strange surprise, but most soon see the strength of our feelings and our devotion to each other. We have now been together for 15 years.
‘Too often, our society seeks to label people by pinning them on the wall — straight, gay or in between. I don’t categorize myself based on the gender of those I love. I had a half-century of marriage with a wonderful woman, and now am lucky for a second time to have found happiness.’
Now Wofford, who was succeeded in office by Senator Rick Santorum, is planning to marry his new partner on April 30 – something he never believed he’d be able to do.
‘For a long time, I did not suspect that idea and fate might meet in my lifetime to produce same-sex marriage equality. My focus was on other issues facing our nation, especially advancing national service for all. Seeking to change something as deeply ingrained in law and public opinion as the definition of marriage seemed impossible.
‘I was wrong, and should not have been so pessimistic.’
He said that he feels ‘lucky’ to be in an era when marriage ‘is not based on anyone’s sexual nature, choices or dreams. It is based on love.’