"He was so heartbroken about the whole thing because he always wanted me to see where he grew up," Crone said.
Despite this, the two would go on to buy a home together, start a business, build a life. One day in May 2011, Bridegroom -- a budding photographer -- was on the roof of a friend's building taking photos when he tripped and fell several floors down.
On the one-year anniversary of his death, Crone uploaded a tribute to Bridegroom on YouTube, detailing their story.
Crone's tribute went viral, capturing the attention of Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, creator of "Designing Women." She convinced him to turn the clip -- and his pain -- into a documentary. He agreed, and it debuted at Tribeca on April 23, one day after what would have been Bridegroom's 31st birthday.
George Takei, who helped Crone produce the YouTube tribute, was in attendance. As was President Bill Clinton who introduced the film, saying, "It's a story about our nation's struggle to make one more step in forming a more perfect union, for which marriage is both the symbol and substance."
It was a bittersweet moment for Crone, who moved to L.A. hoping to work in the entertainment industry. Equally as bittersweet was being in Washington when Proposition 8 -- the law that prevented Crone and Bridegroom from marrying in California -- was overturned this summer.
"I was outside the Supreme Court and it was a very emotional moment for me," he said. "It was wonderful because I knew my friends could finally get married. But I was also sad because I knew that Tom and I could finally get married now ... if he were here."
Months before Bridegroom's passing, he had given Crone a ring.
If you're one of those individuals still undecided on the whole same-sex marriage issue -- like some state legislators in Illinois I know -- I encourage you to watch the film. It's available starting Sunday, October 27, on Netflix and it will air that day on Oprah Winfrey's OWN. It puts a face, and heart, on a conversation that far too often gets muddied by politics and irrational fear.
Two things that have nothing to do with love.
"I haven't dated anyone since Tom passed away," Crone said. "It's not that I'm against the idea of it, it's just right now I'm still focused on the film and the story and just trying to heal.
"If there's any good that can come out of this, it's by using our story to educate people. ... Maybe in some ways this was all meant to be. ... I used to think Tom just had a weird last name but now ... "
But now I will never see the word "bridegroom" in the same light again.
And hopefully, neither will you.
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