Shane and Tom: It Could Happen to You

This is perhaps the most compelling statement about marriage rights we’ve ever seen

Shane Bitney Crone and Tom Bridegroom were together for six years. They had a business and home together on the West Coast. They traveled the world. They shared an adorable pet. But when the couple came out to their families, everything changed.

In a heartbreaking video – “It Could Happen To You” – created with home movies and photos from the couple’s life together, Crone documents what happened when his own family embraced the couple, but his partner’s family became outraged, physically attacked their son and threatened him with a gun.

The spring after coming out to his parents the Christmas before, Bridegroom, just 29 years old, fell from his rooftop to his death. The events surrounding the incident are still murky – Crone has never been able to access vital hospital records. And even though the couple shared promise rings for when marriage became legal in California, Crone was also banned from the funeral he paid for and was absent from the obituary. He was treated by the family (and the government) as if they had never even existed in a relationship together – let alone one for six years.

“I need to fight for what’s right. I need to fight for what I believe in and I can’t just stand back anymore,” says Crone. “Maybe that’s why this all happened, maybe this is part of the reason … is to open my eyes and to inspire me to want to make a change and to want to fight for equality.”

There’s a memorial page created for Bridegroom on Facebook.

You can also watch their incredible story here:

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  • Bill Serrani

    Shane, my condolences to you and those that love you for your loss. In your heart you know the truth, and the truth will sustain you.

  • Gosh. This is such a strong emotional story. I know, because I have been through this as well. It takes forever to heal. Sometimes a song, or a memory, or his photo will bring it all back and the emotions are like it just happened all over again. My heart goes out to Shane and all others who have gone through this. Just know that you are not alone. Maybe this will help open a few minds and hearts to the devastation this situation brings. All my best to you. Big hugs.

  • This is such a heartbreaking story that I have been sharing on my facebook and with my family. This video has me in tears every time I see it (or hear it when I am making someone else watch it) or read about it.

    Kudos to him for using his voice to try to change people’s attitude towards same sex marriage.

  • Shane history with Tom, was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. Despite the distance we are, I mortgaged my sympathy, to say that I feel a deep sadness, the loss of Tom May God comfort your heart, and do reduce this pain you felt. I can imagine how sad it is to lose GREATEST LOVE OF OUR LIFE. My big hug, Wanderson Mercy.

  • This also happened to me in Australia during 2004. That it is still happening in another “first world” country is indefensible by any legal benchmark. Shane has been incredibly brave to document the depth of his grief. The least anyone can do who is moved by his story, out of respect for one man’s pain, is to MAKE A WILL … TODAY to ensure your partner is protected if you die. Don’t put it off. Don’t think you can’t be next. Don’t just “like” this on facebook and get on with your day. Take some action.

  • heather johnson

    I am from Tom’s home town and my friends and i want to have a memorial to celebrate his life and love and i am trying to welcome shane to come but i dont know how to get ahold of him personally

  • Mark

    Shane, I wish I was there to hold you and try to erase your sorrows. I used to watch Tom on X- Effect, he was so much fun. I am not normally vicious and do favors for anyone that comes along. May the bigoted brainwashed Christian Fundamentalist parents, family, and their Aryan Nation closet case pastors all rot in hell. They didn’t even to have to agree with Tom’s lifestyle but to treat him in a violent manner and deny you any closure?

    As a mentor to many partnered and single gay people; at once please get a durable power of attorney for medical care, an ironclad will, a general power of attorney, accounts that clearly go to the other upon death, homes and businesses that read clearly that the survivor is the only successor (or who you want to be if single). I have seen this same situation played out over 10 times already and am beyond sick over it. Please take my advice.

    SEE George Rekers, Pastor Eddie Long, Troy King, Pastor Ted Haggard, Richard Curtis, Glenn Murphy Jr. David Dreier, Bruce Barclay, Roy Ashburn, Jim West, Larry Craig, Ed Schrock, Larry Craig, Robert Allen, Mark Foley, Philip Hinkle, David Berlin, Wilton Bland, Donald Fleischman, Jeffrey Nielsen, John Curtain, Robert Bauman, Howard Brooks, Pastor Stephen White, Andrew Buhr, Merrill Robert Barter, Robin Vanderwall, ANTI GAY TEA PARTY ELECTED OFFICIALS, AND PASTORS, CAUGHT WITH GAY MEN, MOSTLY UNDER AGE BOYS.

  • Dianne

    I am so sorry for your loss of the one you loved and your loss of equal rights. This should never happen to anyone. I wish you peace, and strength to carry on and to love again.