For Dr. Adam Brown and Dr. Steven Farmer, marriage came with a few extra challenges
When emergency physician N. Adam Brown, MD, MBA, FACEP, met Steven Farmer, MD, while the two were training as physicians, he knew he’d met the person he wanted to spend his life with. However, in the era when the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was still in effect, getting married as a gay couple—and making sure that marriage would be recognized—involved complications that heterosexual couples didn’t encounter. The two overcame those hurdles to build a life together as a two-physician couple.
Dr. Brown is currently senior vice president–mid-Atlantic at Envision Physician Services and system chief of emergency medicine at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center in Woodbridge. Dr. Farmer is a cardiologist at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
The couple recently sat down with ACEP Now Medical Editor-in-Chief Kevin Klauer, DO, EJD, FACEP, to discuss the challenges of getting married as a gay couple before it was legal nationwide in the United States and of being in a two-physician marriage.
KK: Tell us about yourselves.
AB: I’m from North Carolina, born and raised. I went to medical school at East Carolina University in Greenville and then did residency at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. That’s where Steve and I met. I started working for EmCare at the time; now I work for Envision Healthcare. I work clinically at a hospital here in northern Virginia, but most of my time is spent working administratively.
SF: I was born in London in the United Kingdom and lived in multiple cities around the world, domestically and internationally. I attended medical school back east at Yale, and then I did my residency and fellowship all at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. I also have a PhD in health policy.
KK: How did you two meet, and when did you get married?
AB: I was in my last year of residency at Jefferson, and Steve was in his first year of fellowship at Penn. Our first date was at The Continental in downtown Philly. After that date, there was really no question this was the person I was going to be with; that was 11 years ago. We got married seven years ago on July 9 in Montreal, Canada.
With Steve being a dual citizen, we wanted to make sure that our marriage would be recognized in the United Kingdom. The United States, at that point, did not have marriage equality across the country, and while we had considered getting married in a place like Massachusetts or Washington, D.C., where marriage was legal, it was not recognized in the United Kingdom, but a marriage in Canada would be recognized. They would recognize international gay marriages, which is kind of an odd way to choose your marriage destination, but that was a calculation we had to make.