The mother of 14-year-old AIDS victim Ricky Ray, who plans to marry his 16-year-old girlfriend in December, says some might see the wedding as "the greatest love story of the century."
But Louise Ray, mother of Ricky, Robert, 13, and Randy, 11, all hemophiliacs who acquired AIDS through blood transfusions, said she also realizes some may say she and her husband, Cliff, are irresponsible parents."There are people out there who are going to say a lot of bad things, that they're too young, that she's too old for him, or that she's marrying him because she knows he's going to die and she'll get money. . . .
"On the other hand, there are going to be people thinking this is the greatest love story of the century and how wonderful it is. Fortunately, the reaction of both of them has been that they don't really care what other people say."
Ricky Ray and his two brothers sued the Arcadia School Board in 1986 after it barred them from attending public school because they were infected with AIDS. The suit was settled for $1.1 million.
The brothers won the right to attend school, but the family moved to Sarasota, Fla., in 1987 after an arson fire gutted their Arcadia home.
Ricky gave Wenonah Lindberg, 16, a gold pre-engagement ring this spring.
Because Ricky is younger than 16, the legal age for marriage in Florida, he will have to petition a judge for permission. If that permission is denied, Louise Ray said the two would have a ceremony in Texas, where it would be legal.
"If I didn't know Ricky, there's no way I would let my daughter marry someone with AIDS," Debra Lindberg said. "But Ricky is the most responsible young man I've ever met. I couldn't ask for a better son-in-law."