Are you one of those kids who dreamed about your wedding day?
Or were you more into playing kickball and eating ice cream, unencumbered by such trivial fantasies?
Throughout my childhood, I was solidly in the second camp. I never once had images of myself in a fancy white wedding gown, floating down the aisle accompanied by quivering violins, while everyone wept at my bountiful bridal beauty.
And then came June 26th, 2013.
That was the day I came home from my morning walk and found this note taped to our front door:
It took me a few seconds to let it in. I knew the Supreme Court rulings were due any day. I knew some predictions indicated the rulings might be favorable to gay folks.
But I had no idea that, in an instant, I would go from someone who couldn’t get legally married to someone who could.
I also had no idea how strongly this would affect me.
A few minutes after I found the note (Melissa was teaching in her studio, and we hadn’t talked yet), I started to cry.
Through my tears, I realized that, even though I’ve done a lot of work on myself, even though I’ve exorcised most of the internalized homophobia that kept me from coming out in the first place, there were still some contracted places inside me.
Places where I bought the lie that there was something “less than” about me. Something “second rate.”
Now, for the first time in my life, I was being told my marriage mattered as much as anyone else’s.
It took a while to sink in.
A week and a half after the ruling, Melissa and I went down to the County office and got ourselves a marriage license.
There was a lesbian couple in front of us who had been together for 34 years. They were finally able to be legally wed.
We hugged each other and cried.
There was also an elderly woman in line with us. She was there to get a death certificate for her husband. She cried along with us, and said she was glad the laws had finally changed.
Melissa and I already had a wedding ceremony the previous year, so we decided we didn’t want to do another one. We just wanted our vows to be legitimized in the eyes of the state.
So we had a tiny little ceremony in our home a few days after we got the license.
The best part was when our minister, Rev. Ruth Barnhart, said “By the power vested in me by the State of California, I now pronounce you legally married.”
Once again, I started to cry. Thinking of it now, it makes me cry again.
I know there’s still room for growth. I know there are still countries where gay people can’t get married. Yet.
I’ve been teasing Melissa that the whole reason we were able to get married is because of her parking karma. She can get a parking place anywhere, at any time.
So it makes sense that, just a few years after she realized she wasn’t straight, she’s able to get married.
She’s got access consciousness.
Of course, I realize it wasn’t just her. It was the consciousness of a whole country that changed. And is continuing to change.
Bottom line, I’m glad the Supreme Court did the right thing.
I’m glad that gay marriage in some states pushed those that didn’t allow gay marriage to catch up with the rest of the country.
I’m glad I don’t have to check the box that says “Single” on forms, even after I had a wedding ceremony with my friends and family.
And I’m glad that, after a lifetime of not being able to be legally wed, I finally have the right to say “I do.”
And I did.
What does marriage mean to you? Share your comments below!
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