It’s fair to say that I’m susceptible to beauty. And so this story hurt me. Meet my guest for today’s Marriage Project:
I am a naturalized Texan. A damn Yankee who found her home and heart in the most unlikely of places: Houston, Texas. Nearly 1,700 miles from my Long Island birth and worlds away from the culture(s) I was raised in.
The first time I heard Blanche Dubois’ liquid lilt, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” I was sure I would never understand such helplessness. I am decidedly not a southern belle, geographical choice or not.
But my lack of legal standing does just that — it makes me depend on the kindness of strangers. Something that is only sweet and charming in fiction, if there. I had to depend upon the kindness of strangers when the love of my life had a partial mastectomy and I had no legal standing that would allow me to sit with her in recovery. I touched her face as she came in and out of consciousness, sharply aware of how tenuous that moment was. We have all sorts of legal paperwork “stop-gap” solutions but ultimately, if our relationship is not legally recognized, we are terribly vulnerable to the prejudice or ignorance of the people in power around us.
I can’t imagine our world operating on the kindness of strangers, though I believe most strangers are essentially kind. We learned as a nation that it was not enough to think: Well, no one would make small children work in factories! Everyone would agree that it’s in society’s best interest to protect and educate the children! Just pitch in. Taxes should be paid on the honor system and divorces granted fair and equitably without any legislation! We learned that it was not enough because it didn’t work. I’m not interested in arguing Libertarian views here. If we were all motivated to help the poor, build new roads and follow a universal code of ethics, we wouldn’t have had the disastrous stories that prompted the laws governing fairness and equity.
So I want to marry this woman with whom I have shared 25 years of marriage. Raising children, buying a home, developing careers, paying taxes, and all the other blissful and mundane things that marriage entails. All that and the incredible happiness and occasional grief that weave through most of our lives. But as far as my state and country are concerned, we are just two unrelated people who bought a house together. If the police come to our door because of a crime or emergency, I must depend on their sense of fairness when it comes to letting us ride together in an ambulance. I must hope that their sensitivity and diversity training had taught them to respect our relationship. But we are not guaranteed anything because our “relationship” doesn’t exist within the legal world.
I do not swoon and go limp when people ask me why I think I should have the right to marry … hoping for their kind support. I’m not interested in kindness or generosity or tolerance. I am interested in my rights. I am interested in equality.
Also published here: http://www.epiphenita.
3 thoughts on “Marriage Project, Day 15”
Thank you, Amiga, for writing so simply and directly .
As usual Enita, you and St. B are an inspiration of what a marraige can be, and to not accept any less in this life! Much love…
Well said my friend.