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“love me two times”

August 6, 2010

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.

Lady Brett

"Love Me Two Times" - The Doors
3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2010 12:00 pm

    Hi Lady B, Great to see you posting again. I missed your words!

    About marriage, I know exactly what you mean. I appreciate the fact that my union is not state-sanctioned. I hate the fact that basic universal protections (like health insurance & social security survivor benefits) are tied to marriage in the U.S. But I also hate the thought that if Van were to become seriously ill, I couldn’t taken family leave from my job in order to care for her because, according to the state, we aren’t a family. Don’t even get me started about the cost of health insurance coverage…. Maybe I should just quit my job and start working at Google, which I hear is now covering the added tax burden of its gay & lesbian employees: Google to Add Pay to Cover a Tax for Same-Sex Benefits

    Have a wonderful time in SF. Pack some sweaters!

    xo
    SF

  2. August 19, 2010 5:44 am

    Hopefully it will reach the Supreme Court soon and we’ll be able to get married all over the country and end this “patchwork” :)

  3. October 6, 2010 5:49 pm

    What state/city do you live in, can I ask? I live in New Orleans in the conservative bastion of Louisiana. I faced many of the same thoughts in the past, especially when I was engaged for all of two minutes (ok, a few months) and visited California with my then-girlfriend in August 0f 2008, pre-Prop 8. Her mother thought we were sneaking off to get hitched. We booked the trip before the trial, mind you, and I had no plans to be legally married in one state, across the country from my own residence.

    For a long time, I’ve felt that the state has no business in regulating relationships between consenting adults. Even if it was legal for me to marry a woman (or transperson, since Louisiana’s attitude toward trans is equally horrendous), I don’t know if I would want the state’s approval, but instead simply a private ceremony and party. Yet, the first gay marriage I attended was for two women who really were not happy together, but had chosen to have a private ceremony in northern Louisiana. A year later, when they broke up, neither them nor their friends and family honored their previous relationship as a marriage or a divorce. It’s frustrating not to have that same level of social recognition which has become tied to state sanctioned weddings. I’ve witnessed much happier gay unions since then, but still, I find that many of those couples struggle with social recognition of their marriage.

    I hope someday, the two can be untied — and then maybe, we could celebrate relationships for what they are, not what they will “become,” and everyone — single, gay, married, etc. can get benefits!

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