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St. Petersburg couple's allegiance is to their union, not their parties

Angie Gregory jokingly painted a white line on the lawn to hint at her and husband Doug’s divide in the presidential race.

MELISSA LYTTLE | Times

Angie Gregory jokingly painted a white line on the lawn to hint at her and husband Doug’s divide in the presidential race.

ST. PETERSBURG

A white line is spray-painted down the manicured lawn. On one side is an Obama-Biden sign. The word "His" is scrawled on it. On the other side is one for Romney-Ryan that says "Hers."

He is Doug Gregory. She is Angie Gregory. They occupy opposite sides of the nation's political chasm, but they live in wedded bliss inside an elegant five-bedroom home on one of the most exclusive streets in St. Petersburg.

"My real problem with the Republican Party is not so much economic policy, although I do not agree with (Mitt) Romney's economic proposals," Doug, 55, said. "My problem is, and always has been with the Republican Party, is where they come down on social issues."

"I have always been Republican," Angie, 43, said. "I grew up on food stamps and I believe in helping people, but I don't believe in giving a permanent crutch and I believe that's what the Democratic Party does."

It would be tempting to think that the Gregorys keep their love alive by keeping these opinions to themselves. That's not the case.

"We don't have heated debates, but we do have debates," said Doug, a health care and business litigation lawyer in Tampa.

"We've just said that you can vote for whomever you choose to vote for, but you have to give reasons why you're voting for that person. We've been going back and forth about these reasons."

And they've managed to do it without a moderator at the dinner table.

"I don't want to hurt his feelings and he doesn't want to hurt my feelings," Angie said.

The dueling signs went up at their Brightwaters Boulevard NE home a week ago.

"Actually, my wife got her sign first, but she had agreed not to put hers up until I put mine up," Doug said.

"Except my son didn't know that and took it from my closet and put it in the yard," said Angie, who has three children from a previous marriage — twins who are 14 and a 10-year-old.

"They think it's funny that their mom and dad are both Republicans and I'm such a devout Democrat," said Doug, who pulled up the Romney sign until he could even up the stakes, as it were.

The display triggered a round of conversations inside the house and reactions around the neighborhood.

"We had to explain to the kids. I tell them that you make your own choices, but right now, they kind of side with Mom," Angie said.

That goes for some of the neighbors, too.

"Our neighbors to our left are Republican," Angie said.

When they saw Doug's Barack Obama sign they put up three for Romney, one right along the Gregorys' property line.

Doug countered with another Obama sign "and butted it up to theirs," she said, not hiding her amusement.

The couple discovered the political truth about each other when they met for a blind date in March 2010.

"I can't stop thinking about her," he said to his workout buddies. "And I can see this relationship developing even though she's a Republican."

"Everything is perfect, except for one thing, he's a Democrat," she told her friends.

After four dates they decided to marry. They had a private wedding in Aspen on July 3, 2010, followed a few months later by a celebration with family and friends at the Chihuly.

More than two years later, the two continue to gush about each other.

"She's beautiful. She has a beautiful spirit. She's very kind and loving, but she's not wishy-washy. She knows her mind and speaks it," he said.

"He is very kind and still is, and gentle and there is a pureness about him. I found him to be very smart. … He is absolutely the best thing that has ever happened to my life, short of my children," Angie said.

They share the home they bought with her children and their three dogs. They ride bikes, like to boat and fish, and are committed to putting aside time to spend alone.

"We're glued at the hip. We do everything together," said Angie, business office coordinator for St. Anthony's Cancer Center.

But they don't think in lockstep.

He's for abortion rights. She's antiabortion.

She worries about the debt. He worries about the environment.

She dislikes Obamacare. He embraces it.

But at the Gregory house, the primary allegiance is to the union, not the party.

Tuesday, they tuned into the second presidential debate like millions of other households. They watched the testy bickering over oil production and tax-cutting.

"As tension rose between the candidates, we were already resolved in our beliefs and there was no sense in our continuing to watch," Doug said.

After 30 or 40 minutes they clicked off the TV. They went to bed, kissed and turned out the light.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at wmoore@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2283.

St. Petersburg couple's allegiance is to their union, not their parties 10/19/12 [Last modified: Saturday, October 20, 2012 12:29am]
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