(another chapter of The Brides of March: Memoir of a Same-Sex Marriage)
“Don’t Do Anything Until I Get There!”
We caravanned past the line of waiting couples, honking our support, looking like a new ad for the Toyota Sienna in the Advocate. As we drove by, Marty suddenly squawked, “The chairs!” realizing we’d left a pile of lawn chairs stacked by the County Building doors. She shook her head, “We’ll just have to get them later.” It wasn’t a time to worry about trifles like lawn chairs.
Marty phoned her mother and her friend, Ann, to meet her at the church. Marty’s mom told her, “Don’t do anything until I get there!” She’d waited a long time to see this day. As a minister’s wife, she’d been to a ton of weddings. This was her turn to be the mother of the bride.
I borrowed Marty’s phone and called my mother. She answered on the first ring. “If you want to be there, come now,” I told her. She lived just across the Columbia River in Vancouver, so this was possible. She got the address of the church, confirmed directions, and said she’d get there as soon as she could.
In the other van, Jannine was wishing she’d called her parents at five in the morning and asked them to come down. But she also knew that with her father’s recent health problems (that blood clot passing through his heart), he shouldn’t be hopping in the car for a three hour drive. She’d spoken to them earlier, and had their blessing. She called her good friend, Liz, who works downtown (and would later marry her longtime love, Nan), who said she’d be there, pronto.
None of us hesitated about getting married as soon as possible. None of us wanted to live with the sorrow of knowing we could have been married if we’d done it right away, before the courts stopped it. While we would love to have gathered friends, chosen outfits, and flown relatives in, we knew that we might not have the time. This gift was ephemeral, and it was important to get married, to mark our long time as couples, and not let that opportunity slip away.
It was also important to send the message that we really want this. We are ready, willing, and able to take on the responsibilities and rights of marriage. We’ve had the responsibilities already in our long, but unrecognized marriages, now we’d like to receive some of the rights: the legal ones.