I cried my heart out at their wedding. Meet my guest for today’s Marriage Project:
I started writing letters to my husband when I was 8, hiding them in a box in my closet, sealing each letter in an envelope with the date. I wanted to share my inner self with my future spouse, a gift I was saving to give him on our wedding day. I continued writing the letters through high school, dreaming of having a spouse, having a marriage. I wasn’t one of those girls who dreamt about the dress or what my wedding would look like, I wanted the marriage not the wedding. When I realized I was gay, I stopped yearning for a marriage, I didn’t think there was a point … I couldn’t marry now anyway. I didn’t know what to do with the letters; I wondered if I should throw them away, get rid of the evidence of my misguided longing. In the end I couldn’t throw them away; it felt wrong, they were intended for my beloved.
I met M when I was 23-24ish and my heart literally stopped … she was enchanting … I felt at that moment that I wouldn’t be the same again; I couldn’t hide anymore. We dated – fell in love and started to establish ourselves as a couple. I remember feeling the happiest I had ever felt, and at the same time the most stripped down and vulnerable. I didn’t come out until I had to. Coming out was difficult for me, the main issue is I’m a Christian – I believe in God and that He created me, my foundation was rocked, I didn’t understand why God would create me gay – why would he play this horrible joke on me. I got kicked out of the church, lost my friends, my family was embarrassed and ashamed of me, I had hate mail sent to my home, and I was completely alone, except I had M.
Our first Christmas together I gave her a ring –and I remember crying, telling her it was a sweet sorrow ring, because we’d never be able to marry (I was a bit of a pessimist). A couple months later I gave her the letters from my closet: she’s my beloved; they belong to her. November 2010 we had a real wedding: a wedding where we were surrounded by our community, people who believed in our love, believed in our commitment; it was best day of my life.
When I think about why marriage equality is important, it seems simple: because marriage is important. Marriage changes relationships; something innate happens when you stand up in front of witnesses and commit yourself to another. There is accountability and recognition of our commitment from our loved ones. They all heard me say I would love and value M more than myself – now I have to honor that commitment. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with marriage. Everyone should have the opportunity to marry the person they love; it seems so terribly wrong and unjust to deny anyone that right. If marriage equality wasn’t an issue, I wonder if future generations would find it less painful and scary to come out. I long to live in a world where people will be free to live the way they were created, a step in this direction is marriage equality.