LA man makes viral video honoring partner


It's about Shane Bitney Crone and Tom Bridegroom. They were a committed couple of six years, but they were unmarried, and as Crone found out, unprotected.

Now Crone, the video's creator, wants to make sure what happened to him never happens to anyone else.

The video starts with a question: What if tragedy struck the one you loved? Would you be prepared? Then we meet the love of Crone's life, Tom Bridegroom.

"Tom was my best friend, he was my soul mate, he was really like, my life," said Crone.

The two traveled the world, they bought a condo together, started a business together and even adopted a dog together.

"We only wanted to tell our families that we were in a relationship and that we were gay when we officially found the person we wanted to spend the rest of our life with," said Crone.

Crone says his family embraced the news, but Bridegroom's did not.

"They blamed me for making him gay, they also said all of his accomplishments meant nothing, they said every horrible thing you can say to your son," said Crone.

Despite all that, two Christmases ago, Bridegroom gave Crone a promise ring.

"We could have done a domestic partnership but we wanted to wait until we could commit in the ultimate form of commitment, which was marriage," said Crone.

But last May, Bridegroom fell from a roof while shooting photography and died in a freak accident.

"I know I've said it a million times but my life without you, it just feels so meaningless," Crone says in the video.

Crone says Bridegroom's mom flew to L.A. and took her son's body back to the family's Indiana hometown.

"I had no legal say, I couldn't say if he should be buried, if he should be cremated," said Crone.

He was also not invited to the memorial service, but he decided to attend anyway.

"I receive a phone call from one of his relatives telling me I wasn't welcome and that if I showed up, I'd be attacked by his uncle and his dad," said Crone.

Eyewitness News reached out to Bridegroom's family to get there side of the story, but they did not call us back. Leading proponents of Proposition 8 also had no comment on the video.

Bridegroom's friends put on their own memorial service in L.A., and to mark the one-year anniversary of Bridegroom's death, Crone released his video that has now been seen by millions.

The day after the video was released, North Carolina voters banned same-sex marriage. The day after that, President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage.

"It made me really think that maybe all of this really happened for a reason," said Crone.

He hopes his story puts a human face on the contentious, ideological debate.

"I think the most important thing in life is the experience of love and I think everyone should have the equal right to have that," he said.

Crone's other message to all couples is to make sure you file a will and utilize all the legal protection available to you. He and Bridegroom did not.

Crone is now focused on a Facebook page, Equal Love, Equal Rights, which is getting tens of thousands of likes. He says surprisingly, he's received very few hateful comments.

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