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­­­Why Marriage Matters

photo: Ivan McClellan on flickr

photo: Ivan McClellan on flickr

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:

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

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.

photo: Enrique Mendez on flickr

photo: Enrique Mendez on flickr

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.

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

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.

photo: lisa barry

photo: lisa barry

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.

photo: Jose Antonio Navas on flickr

photo: Jose Antonio Navas on flickr

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.

photo: KarenFry

photo: KarenFry

What does marriage mean to you? Share your comments below!

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26 Responses to ­­­Why Marriage Matters

  1. Karen August 20, 2013 at 7:28 am #

    Just lovely, Z. I’m so happy for you and Melissa.

    Mark and I have 5 past marriages between us, and this time we decided to just informally do our “vows” the Abraham-Hicks way. Instead of “till death do us part,” we say to each other, as Abe suggests, “I kinda like you. Let’s see how it goes.” We know we’re always together because we want to be together not because of the “ink stains that have dried upon some line.”

    But it’s wonderful to do marriage in a more traditional way, too — whatever approach feels best to the happy couple involved!

    • Z Egloff August 22, 2013 at 10:42 am #

      Hi Karen,

      I love the Abe take on marriage vows. Melissa and I are aware of that version and love it. And, for various reasons, we decided to do the more traditional route this time ’round. Like you say – and Abe says – it’s all about the downstream motion! :)

      XOZ

  2. Donna August 20, 2013 at 7:29 am #

    Dear Z. Thank you so much for your wonderful piece about marriage. I got married in Reno so that I could have a baby I could keep. I was so brainwashed by my upbringing in Wisconsin I believed that I couldn’t take care a baby by myself. I ended up a single parent. I was also brainwashed by a father who got my mother pregnant anytime she talked about getting a job or going to school. When my husband started saying I could go to school next semester – we couldn’t afford it this year I felt i totally trapped. My beautiful daughter’s father and I became friends, eventually. After a divorce and I became a happy hippy. I lived with two men. I worked – they didn’t. I felt like I wore the pants in the relationship. I swore I would never get married. Z, thank you for the tears as I read your marriage story. I’m crying right now. For the years I spent being afraid of marriage, and relationships. The last years of being sexually active, I dated men who were married or in a committed relationship. I kept saying I was just fine without a being part of a two-some. I’m crying now because I know I’ve never realized how much I deserved a real, loving relationship. Thank you!

    • Z Egloff August 22, 2013 at 10:45 am #

      Hi Donna,

      Thank you for your openness and vulnerability! What an amazing journey you have been through. I love that you have been through so many different experiences and are now refining what you want. This is awesome!!! And yes, you totally deserve a real, loving relationship!! Absolutely!! I’m grateful that you are letting this in – Yes! Thank you for sharing yourself and your process. :)

      XOZ

  3. Mary Murray Shelton August 20, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    Having the choice–the same choice as everyone else–to marry the person you love and are committed to is enormously important. Equal civil rights matter. What a joyful moment you shared here, Z. Double congrats to you and Melissa!

    • Z Egloff August 22, 2013 at 10:47 am #

      Hi Mary!!

      I remember seeing you and Amanda on the morning of our ceremony last year. How wonderful to “see” you here again! Thank you. Love to you and Amanda! :)

      XOZ

  4. River August 20, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    Equality matters when even within marginalized peoples – the GLBT community – I am still without rights. Your story, Z, gives my family such great hope. You see I am a “B” in that alphabet soup. (whew – public outing) I know that most people don’t understand bisexuality calling it greedy or calling it undecided. I know that the idea of multiple partners brings up all kinds of feelings for people. I was one of those people. I know even more that equality matters when I found two people who love me as close to unconditionally as I have ever experienced in my life. But rights have nothing to do with preferences nor with orientations but rather with allowing me to love whom I love and have the same rights as anyone else. I want my freedom to choose my life openly, honestly with dignity! Don’t let up until the world works for all of us.

    • Z Egloff August 22, 2013 at 10:49 am #

      Hi River!!

      Congratulation on coming out as a B in the soup! Yes!!!!! Telling the truth is awesome, isn’t it?! And welcome to the fold! :)

      I am grateful that you are adding your voice and experience into the conversation. Love is amazing in its variety, and all aspects of love deserve respect and freedom to express.

      Thank you!

      XOZ

  5. Donna Campbell August 20, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Congratulations!!! and Thank you so much for sharing. I am so happy for you both. I was in France when the Supreme Court decision came. I so wanted to be at CSLSR and share the joy. We were so excited!

    My friend’s daughter, a mutual friend’s son, a couple I sat with at a party –one from France and one from Ireland, so many, so many. There’s been a shift on the planet. Halleluiah

    • Z Egloff August 22, 2013 at 10:53 am #

      Hi Donna,

      Halleluiah is right! The times are changing in many ways. Binational couples are just one of many who will benefit from the recent ruling. Yay! :)

      XOZ

  6. Jill Shinn August 21, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    Very nice, Z. Interesting topic, too, since so many married people seem to be throwing in the towel right now. Personally, I have taken marriage for granted for many years, and only recently have I thought of it as a conscious, alive, CHOICE. It really helps to do this occasionally, I’m finding. I’m happy to say that I am happily married today. Not all days, but today is a good day.

    Lots of happiness to you and your (legally wedded) wife!

    • Z Egloff August 22, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      Hi Jill,

      I love that you point out the element of choice in this – even and especially for people who are already married. What a wonderful perspective! And I’m happy that you’re happily married!! :) Hurray for that!!

      XOZ

  7. Laura Lippincott August 21, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    Thank you for sharing! Hope and happiness abound! Congratulations!

    • Z Egloff August 22, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      Hi Laura!!

      Howdy and welcome to the blog! And thank you! :)

      XOZ

  8. Martha McCabe August 21, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    Bless your heart, Z. Wonderful story. I sobbed the day the Supreme Court decision was announced, and for a few days after, every time it came into my thoughts. The pain was in such a deep and layered place, a teenager’s anguished heart (fell madly in love with my first girl friend at 15), a 30- 40 something corporate manager in the closet, a 50 year old going through a “divorce” (RDPs have A LOT to untangle too) so painful I literally thought I could die from my broken heart.
    And just as you wrote, I know that the depth of the pain I felt that day was due to a self-hatred we know as internalized homophobia. Yes, we exorcize it through a lot of means over many years, AND it is so acculturated that I still have those “contracted places”: not good enough; the outsider, the freak of nature, not deserving of equal rights. No matter how much our family, partner, friends, co-workers love us, or we come to love ourselves, we are social creatures who believed all the lies told about us and to us. And it took the event of legalized marriage in our state – and all that symbolizes to get to the depth of my pain. Thank you for telling your story, part of OUR story.

    • Z Egloff August 22, 2013 at 10:58 am #

      Hi Martha,

      Thank you so much for sharing your perspective on this. As I read your words, I resonate deeply with the pain and release of this thing we call internalized homophobia. It is surprising, isn’t it, that it can still be there – even when we think we’re moved so far behind it? For me, it’s been so healing to open these contracted places to the openness and spaciousness of the recent Supreme Court decision. What an amazing time we live in. I’m grateful for the recent decision and I’m also grateful to notice all that it brings up in me, including that “stuff” that often doesn’t feel so good. Thank God we all have each other to share this journey with.

      XOZ

  9. Jane Beach August 22, 2013 at 6:14 am #

    I had tears rolling the whole time I read your story, mostly because of your past “not good enough” feelings, simply because of the beauty of who God made you to be. Oh my goodness, Z, how many others are feeling the same way for so many reasons, and they’re afraid to let the world know who they are?

    Thank you for telling your story in the most sensitive, real-life way. It should be splashed on billboards, in newspapers, everywhere where people might read your words and feel better about who they are.

    Bless you for being you, and congratulations to you both!

    With much love, Jane

    • Z Egloff August 22, 2013 at 11:01 am #

      Hi Jane,

      Thank you for your words, as always. What most surprised me about the Supreme Court decision was that it opened those places in me that were still hiding away. And, like you say, so many people have these places of secrecy and of shame. The beautiful thing about the Divine is that It embraces all these places – we just have to be honest that they’re there.

      Thank you for being a part of my life! :)

      XOZ

  10. Sandi Lee Brent-Green August 22, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    Love you Z…and happy for the changes coming…and for your lovely relationship and commitment with Melissa. I am knowing it will be a long and wonderful one. Love your blogs too.

    • Z Egloff August 23, 2013 at 11:04 am #

      Hi Sandi!

      Thank you. Glad you’re liking the blogs. I never get tired of hearing that! 😉

      XOZ

  11. Sherry August 29, 2013 at 10:54 am #

    Z,

    Just want you to know there are probably more people reading and enjoying your Blog than you know know. People like me who have been reading your blog for some time but have not responded to you as yet.

    I’m responding now to tell you how much I adore your blog! You should be “out there” just as anyone else is. Love is Love and you are lucky that you found The One.

    P.S. – I’m good friends with Karen and follow Abe also!

    Keep Rockin’

    • Z Egloff August 29, 2013 at 11:40 am #

      Hi Sherry,

      It’s wonderful to hear from you! It’s funny, because just recently I went into a little wondering and musing about why I’m doing this blog thing anyway. Right away, the Universe started delivering me people to tell me how much they enjoy it – including you! Funny how this “stuff” works – and works and works. (Say “Hi” to Karen for me – she’s one of my most loyal commenters.)

      And come back to Comment Land again any time! :)

      XOZ

  12. Sherry August 29, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    Thanks, for the Reply, Z.

    Isn’t it funny how life works?

    Also wanted to let you know that your blog about your book reading was so funny that I almost fell on the floor. Fortunately, I was able to hold myself up!

    Keep writing – your good!

    Sherry

    • Z Egloff August 30, 2013 at 11:20 am #

      Well, I am glad that no actual harm came to you from reading the blog about the book reading. This is supposed to be a safe space! 😉

      Thanks again for your comments!

  13. Rachel September 28, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    First of all, I’m pretty sure I saw your wedding shirt starring in a broadway show….

    Marriage is commitment, plain and simple. It’s like, before we were married (24 years now) there was always this little voice in the way back of my mind that said, “you can always leave, you know,” but once we were married, it went away. We just worked that much harder to get through any trying times – and we really felt closer and more “one-ish”

    I’m really happy for you and Melissa!

    • Z Egloff October 1, 2013 at 11:46 am #

      Hi Rachel,

      Awesome to see you here!

      Yes, that shirt has been known to travel around. It’s something of a ham – totally out of my control.

      I appreciate your perspective from 24 years of being “in it” together. Beautiful.

      Stop by again any time! :)

      XOZ

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