“love me two times”
Jamie’s mother called Wednesday night and pointed out that we could get married while we’re in California next week. This had not occurred to us. In fact, it was the first i had heard of the overturn of Prop 8. I may have said “oh, hell no!” or perhaps only made a barfy face. Fortunately, i was not the one on the phone with her mother.
Only, i was having a difficult time understanding why i had such a negative reaction to the idea. I have explained my thoughts on legal marriage before, but i was more ambivalent then.
Part of it is, actually, fairly traditional. Now that we’re moving forward with the wedding plans, i really don’t want to get married before we, you know, get married. If we were getting legally married, it would, i think, be important to me to do it as part of our ceremony.
Part of it is practical. I know too many people who are, and always* will be, married to their ex. In fact, Jamie dated a girl for years who was legally married to someone else. Because divorce requires residency, whereas marriage just requires twenty-five dollars or so. It’s not that i’m planning on divorce (clearly…), but that it just seems stupid. Even so, that is not going to fly as an explanation to my future mother-in-law. Ahem.
I finally realized, as we discussed it, what really bothers me: getting a marriage certificate that will procure me no legal benefits reinforces something i strongly disagree with – that the government has any say in the validity of my marriage. The idea that one is not “really” married for lack of a government seal is preposterous to me, and seems to entirely miss what marriage is. It is also an extraordinarily common concept; the one that is behind the constant question of, “Oh! Where are you going?” (the gay equivalent of “Oh! What are your colors?”). I feel like getting legally married anywhere but home will send the signal that, really, i do but that. That it is somehow important to me that i’m “lawfully wed.” And it’s not. Frankly, i don’t think the government should have a damn thing to do with marriage.
Getting legally married at home is a different ballgame. My political opinion on the matter holds, but as a matter of practicality the legal protections offered by legal marriage are worthwhile and important. Even so, until gay marriage is federally recognized, i’m not sure the benefits would outweigh the ugly legal mess that is this patchwork system. Fortunately, i think we’re unlikely to have to worry about our state moving more quickly than the nation on this issue!
I don’t expect her mother will be pleased with this explanation, but it will at least make sense.
*or until federal law allows same-sex marriage, or something else unlikely happens.
"Love Me Two Times" - The Doors