The excitement in this story is palpable. I can’t read it without pleasure. Why would we ever discourage love? It’s right here. You can feel it. Meet my guest for today’s Marriage Project:
The almost 7 years that my partner and I have been together are marked with milestones that most couples experience: The first date; moving in together; meeting the family; buying a house; buying another house because you hate the first one; adopting a pet, yet something seems to be missing from the list .…
I can’t help but think that if we were a heterosexual couple, we would constantly be bombarded with the question “why haven’t you two gotten married?” After this long together it’s expected. But to think about the lack of unmarried harassment, a little deeper, is unsettling. The reason we’re not asked the question, is because people know the answer: We’re not married, because we’re not allowed to be married. Our relationship isn’t viewed the same as that of my two brothers and their respective wives, that of my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and every other married couple in the world.
We’ve taken steps to both celebrate our relationship and to legally protect ourselves. We went to Vegas and had a commitment ceremony 49 days after we began dating. We registered with the Washington Secretary of State as domestic partners after 2 ½ years together, and received “all the rights and responsibilities” of a married couple (in the state of Washington only, and still only after the approval of Referendum 71). All the rights that is, except being able to say “I’m married”. If I use the term married, I’m usually asked one of two questions. The first, “what’s your wife’s name?” or the second, “legally? Did you go out of state?” People either assume that I have a wife, or know that I can’t possibly be married “for real”.
I don’t require public validation and I would like to think that I couldn’t care less about the title put on my relationship, but nothing says love and commitment like the word “marriage”. We’re driven from childhood that getting married is part of life, and without it, we are somehow incomplete. The greatest of true loves in every (non-Shakespearean) story we read culminate with marriage and a “happily ever after”.
Once, I told my mom that my wedding was going to be at my great-grandmother’s house. We would enter down the cast iron spiral staircase into the backyard. The old pond and fountain was to be cleaned up and in working order to be the backdrop of the perfect ceremony. The reception would be on the front lawn next to the rose garden.
I might have been about 6 years old. I’ve been thinking about this for a while.
Now, with marriage equality in Washington State on the horizon, I couldn’t be more excited. We are getting married. Our honor attendees have been asked and all have graciously accepted. Our families have been told of our pending nuptials and a date has been set.
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the love that my partner and I share than to invite our friends and family to our commitment ceremony civil union domestic partnership registration wedding.