The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 62
LISA MARTIN AND MELISSA
MAY have been married since
November of 2014, but that
number would rise to 15 years
were it not for legal obstacles. They were wed as soon as
it was legal for same-sex people to do so in Virginia and
now they have four-year-old towhead twins (thanks to
artificial insemination), Colby and Cooper, and a contented life at Smith Mountain Lake.
Lisa has her own company, L2 Media Services, and
Melissa works for the American Red Cross, both highlevel professionals working nationally from home, and
both have worked in the Roanoke Valley at various high
profile positions (Lisa at Roanoke College and the Taubman Museum; Melissa at Cox Communications and the
Roanoke Dazzle), as well as working nationally and internationally. They met when Melissa made a sales call
and "it was instant karma," she says. They were both
exiting relationships that didn't work and approached
the possibilities skeptically.
"We had to build trust and get over the past," says Melissa. The fact that they are a same-sex couple has never
been much of an obstacle, they agree. "We've really been
lucky," says Lisa. "Most of our friends are heterosexual
and we live in a conservative golf community. We have
a retired colonel living next door!"
The boys, whom the neighbors adore, have been a nice
addition, but Lisa and Melissa were already solid mem62 | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017
bers of their community when the twins came along.
"We're not the first or the last to forge this type of family," says Melissa. "We are unique because of the twins."
Says Lisa: "When we met, we hadn't thought of having
kids." But one thing led to another and then the Supreme
Court ruled Virginia's law unconstitutional, and the marriage-which neither considered mandatory-happened.
"We wanted to marry for [the children] and for us,"
says Melissa. "There are benefits and legal rights" to consider. But the marriage was already there, solid and stable.
WHEN ROLAND AND
KAREN LAZENBY met in
Richmond more than 40 years
ago, the meeting solidified his
later notion that "relationships are blind luck, random
encounters leading to falling in love. I don't know why
certain ones work." Their meeting, in fact, is a case
study: "If I hadn't screwed up everything in my young
life to that point, we would never have met." He was in
summer school trying to get his GPA up, so he could
graduate at VMI. She was a student at VCU and they
were working at a swimming pool.
Today, Roland (64) is an internationally known author of pro basketball books and Karen is a retired technology teacher in high school (a former Tech Teacher
of the Year in Roanoke City Schools). Their path to 43
years of marriage, three accomplished children and two