Happy Un-Anniversary, Honey
My wife sent me a note today on Facebook, “Happy unanniversary!” in honor of the sixth anniversary of our legal marriage. The one annulled by the state a year later, and declared legally nonexistent from the date our license was issued.
Later, she sent me a link to the news that DC became the sixth state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples with the note, “FYI.”
Because I’m done celebrating each little step. Six years ago I was giddy; now I’m stuffed with sour grapes. I can’t even imagine having the confidence to take the step that those couples in D.C. are making at this moment, putting their trust in a system that can yank those rights away without a second glance. And have.
Something no one would dare do to straight people.
So, admittedly, six out of fifty is an improvement on the state of the union. But really, when my mother suggested that in twenty years we’d see universal same-sex marriage in this country, I thought she was crazy. Twenty years! Good grief. But since then six have passed. Why not another four, or ten, or fourteen?
When we got married in the First Unitarian Church six years ago, it felt like we’d been together FOREVER. Seventeen whole years! My god, that was a lifetime. And now it’s been twenty-three whole years, and we’ve been together over half our lives and one of our kids is getting ready for college.
Will the third be in college before we can tie the knot? And will we give a darn by then? I suppose Social Security benefits might be handy, and inheritance would be simpler, but by that time living in sin will be the biggest sin we’ll be up to (after surviving three teenagehoods), so why throw it away?
The fight for our right to marry goes on in state after state, a chess game of two forward, one back, that keeps being framed as a political, not personal, battle. What could be more personal? When my relationship is voted inferior to that of any two heterosexual people who choose to get married, that’s pretty insulting. That’s personal.
Fortunately, there are energetic young people willing to continue this fight, though it seems to be long-term lesbian couples who fill the lines for licenses. Of the six other couples who waited in line with us, one was split by “divorce”, one by death, the others are still duking it out on the bad days (not literally) and enjoying each other on the good. Like any other married couples. But without the accompanying license and legal rights on a federal level.
What else is there to say but that I wish March 3rd was a happy day, not a melancholy one. I wish that the celebration wasn’t eclipsed by the check in the mail we received refunding our sixty-dollar license fee. I wish the license framed on our wall had stood, as so many of our guests predicted when we held a reception and over a hundred came with two day’s notice. I even wish sometimes I could lie and say it doesn’t matter.
Here’s wishing the couples in D.C. never have to eat sour grapes, and have only sweet memories of getting legally married, and having it stand.
PS And if you want to know more about the Multnomah County marriages, read my book, http://www.thebridesofmarch.com