Jim Kolbe (left), Hector Alfonso (right)

Submitted Photo

Former Tucson Congressman Jim Kolbe plans to marry his partner of eight years on Saturday in Washington, D.C., where same-sex marriage is allowed by law.

Same-sex marriage is not legally recognized in Arizona.

Kolbe said he met Hector Alfonso, a teacher from Panama, at a farewell party at his home in Washington, D.C.

"We're very happy," he said. "We're very committed."

The two have talked about marrying for a long time, Kolbe said. After sorting out Alfonso's immigration status, Kolbe said the two are ready to marry.

They plan a simple ceremony at the Cosmos Club, officiated by a minister, with readings and prayers.

The music will include a number by Jonathan Ng, who is the music director at Kolbe's church, Catalina United Methodist Church.

"I wish them all the best," Ng said. "I'm just so excited for them."

Kolbe said it's "unfortunate" that Arizona doesn't yet recognize same-sex marriage, saying everyone should be able to find the happiness he's found and be able to marry the person of his or her choice.

Kolbe announced in 1996 that he is gay, fearing he would be outed. Kolbe, 70, currently works at a think tank as an international trade adviser. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 22 years and in the Arizona Senate for six years.

Poll: 55 percent of Arizonans support gay marriage / A9

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at bpallack@azstarnet.com or 573-4346. On Twitter @BeckyPallack.