I Wrote the Brides of March
To enter the debate on same-sex marriage. To share a unique perspective that was underrepresented, to show the personal behind the political. So here goes, once a week I'll post a chapter, so that folks can see why it is so important to real people. At least real people like me.
As a little girl, I didn’t dream of getting married someday with a Cinderella dress and six matching bridesmaids in puce. I didn’t put lace tablecloths over my head and weave up imaginary aisles clutching a dozen dying daisies. I didn’t even have any predictable wedding fantasies for a child of the sixties, like imagining myself a barefoot princess in a white hippie dress, marrying the handsome (if long-haired) prince, and living happily ever after, maybe in a commune. My one childhood foray into marriage fantasy was when I became briefly engaged to a pleasantly plump, easy-going boy named Douglas in kindergarten. It was Los Angeles, fall of 1969, and we planned to marry on roller skates, which seemed ever so important at the time.
Admittedly, I was not exactly force fed bridal veil, lacy gown, packed pews, and Tiffany & Company romance at home. My mother was married in her parents’ backyard with a gold band, a handful of her parents’ friends, and a simple off-white lace cocktail dress. Years later, she buried this classy number on the beach next to the charred remains of every single one of her wedding pictures.
My one adolescent wedding fantasy focused on marrying for money while wearing a red satin strapless gown a` la Rita Hayworth as Gilda, because I had a lot more faith in my figure than in love. Marrying a man for love just didn’t come into it; which made sense when I came out as a lesbian (as did the fact that my Barbie doll tended to kick Ken across the room and hang out with that babe, Malibu P.J., instead); and marrying a woman for love was not an option.
In 1983, gay marriage was unthinkable, legally or symbolically. It simply wasn’t done.
It wasn’t until my spouse and I had spent years living in sin that commitment ceremonies became common and marriage moved from my unconscious back burner to the front of the stove on high. I got wedding fever, wanting desperately to marry the woman I loved, not just for the legal rights, but for the chance to say “I do” with feeling.
Being very able at accessorizing, I developed a whole scenario involving a voluminous white skirt, barefoot children running around, green grass, white flowers and, in some versions, a baby in my arms. My spouse, bless her pragmatic heart, had no fantasies in the marriage department other than if it became legal, she wanted to do it. In the end, we both had some of our dreams come true.
This is the story I hope to be telling grandchildren years from now, about the day my wife and I were married in a short, sweet, extemporaneous church wedding, on a rainy Wednesday morning in March, with nary a skirt in sight.
By then, I trust, this story will have a different ending.