Marriage project

Casually she says there are 500 reasons that she married me.
“Just 500?”
“To start.”
“Name them.”

And she has. I get a letter periodically with a numbered list. We’re well into the 3 hundreds and only a couple of repeats so far. If you consider that I have a pair of hands, and a pair of breasts, the repetition may not even be shirking. This morning, a woman proposed writing one thing she loves about her partner every day until the nearly inevitable November vote on marriage equality in Washington. She asked if others would join her. I think it’s a brilliant idea. But I’m proposing a slight variation.

Would you consider submitting to me your reasons for supporting marriage equality? Your sexuality is beside the point, as is mine, so I welcome support from my queer community and our straight allies. Write why you chose to marry, or why you would marry, or why you believe in marriage, or why you’re not into marriage but think marriage equality is still vital. Write whatever you feel compelled to write. I’ll post it here, on my site, and include your name and city, unless you’d like to be anonymous. What do you think? Wanna join me?

17 thoughts on “Marriage project”

  1. I believe in marriage equality for many reasons. Love is love. And quite frankly, I’ve known of far more straight couples breaking up or ending marriages than their gay counterparts. In fact, gay couples seem to be more stable. Perhaps enduring life-long struggles and opposition due to societal bigotry and closemindedness. I want my gay friends to be able to marry just as easily and lovingly as my straight friends. I also disagree that any religious text should dictate what the definition of marriage is. The Bible includes many references where multiple wives and even taking “virgins of war” is acceptable, even ordained by god.
    Marriage is about Love. Commitment. And the ability to share one’s life unflinchingly, in a legal sense, to the rest of the world. I believe in Love. And this is why marriage equality must exist for all. <3 Blessings.

  2. oops, I meant to say that enduring life-long struggles help create a more well-rounded, mature individual, who can be in a committed relationship for a lifetime. I also think straight couples do wonderfully, often. Discrimination sucks.

  3. I really don’t feel like being married has much to do about sex. Sure, something, but it isn’t the focal point for most marriages I know of. I think Representative Maureen Walsh made a great point when she said her husband passed away a few years ago and sex isn’t the thing she missed most. It was the intense connection with her husband. And it seems like the debate about gay marriage comes down to people thinking about it in terms of who is having sex with whom. Personally I don’t discuss what goes on in my bedroom or the bedroom of my friends, coworkers, or my kid’s friend’s parents with the exception of bragging about how many hours of sleep we got, or didn’t get.

    Being married is about committing to someone, and I think gender is irrelevant. It is about a commitment to be intwined in life, and I think everyone has the right to choose to whom they will commit to. I’ve been reading books recently about civil rights and black people. It is so abhorrent and strange to me that these ideas and falsehoods that we can no longer accept towards black (aka african americans, aka coloreds, aka negro or negra, aka the N word) people are somehow OK towards others in our society. It is not OK to deny anyone their rights. If they want to have sex with someone of the same gender, WHO CARES!! If you don’t want to, then don’t do it. But it’s all about love. We each have the right to love whoever we want, and we each get to say who has the right to hold our hand as we give birth or die and to be a legitimate partnership for legal matters and be recognized as a single unit. I support every person’s right to be with who they love, through birth, sickness, health, and death. Don’t you?

    1. Representative Walsh nailed it on so many fronts, didn’t she? She was so forthright about her speech — defiant and revolutionary as it is within her party’s leadership — but she was a widow talking about her great love, a mother talking about her lovely daughter. She encapsulated the humanity of marriage equality. Thanks for sharing, Laurel.

  4. I believe in marriage equality not because I support the whole institution of marriage, but because denying a group of people the right to choose who to marry and who to love messes with an intergral part of an individual’s identity. Having marriage equality provides social validation of a couple’s relationship with an expected list of rights, duties, and responsibilities.

  5. Marriage equality is just too long overdue. American society has changed its thinking on many ideas once believed to be controversial – Women’s right to vote, marriage of interracial couples, the end of segregation and recently the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It is time to grant freedom and choice to gay couples too. And their families.

    My father is gay. When I was young, I was truly scared for his safety and mine. Without him telling me to, I knew to be very careful about who I shared information with and only invited a handful of my most trusted friends to our home. Mostly I kept quiet, even when nasty words were scrawled on the Girl’s Bathroom mirror at my High School. I wasn’t ashamed of my family but 25 years ago nobody was talking. The most common reaction when I shared my family’s story was disbelief that a gay man could have a child.

    Today it’s not nearly so difficult to share my family’s story, but it is hard for my kids. They don’t understand why marriage has to be a boy and a girl. They have a Grandpa and a Grandpa. I struggle to explain why two people in love, that have always been a part of their lives, cannot marry in the eyes of the State. For now, I explain that a slip of paper isn’t what really matters in love but I am fearful again for my father.

    He is elderly now and he and his partner don’t have the same financial protections that many couples do.

    They should.

    And children shouldn’t need to worry about their parents and grandparents.

    1. Oh, Liz, thank you for sharing this story. I have often wondered if I knew kids with gay parents when I was a kid. Statistically, it’s more than likely, but no one talked about it. Would you be willing to let me post this comment as a separate, unique blog entry, here on my site, as part of the Marriage Project? Please let me know. I have found so far, in the first week of this project, that every story is different and powerful and we need to hear them. We need to hear them all.

  6. Marriage equality is of huge importance to me because I may pass for hetero in my day to day life, and probably benefit tremendously from it, but I decidedly am not. I may be a woman marrying a man in a few months, but I could just as easily have fallen in love with a woman. Some people around me seem to think that this means that “it was just a phase,” and that marriage equality has nothing to do with me. It does. It’s a pretty stark difference between how this is going, and how this would be going if I was marrying a woman. Believe me, I think about it a lot. It’s really all down to luck that I’m legally allowed to partner with this person– if the coin had flipped the other way, well, you know. Too many of us know. Too many of us have aunts who are disgusted that two men now wear wedding bands when they’re “not even really married, I mean, it’s not even legal!” Too many of us have watched a cousin split with her female partner of 20 years and have no protections under the law, where if they had been a man and a woman they’d already be commonlaw married. Marriage equality doesn’t mean everyone has to like it, or that churches will suddenly be forced to marry same-gender couples against their internal doctrines. It just means that finally, a great big leg to stand on will be cut off, and it will be a lot harder for anyone to claim that these relationships aren’t real. Don’t even have to approve of it, like it, go ahead, hate it even– but it will finally be officially, legally, REAL.

    1. Christine, you are so right. I was entirely unprepared for the privilege I was given when I married a boy. Suddenly my relationship was serious and valid and everyone treated us with deference. It was confusing. And phony. What I mean is, we hadn’t done anything to earn it. We weren’t a better couple married than we had been dating. And marriage didn’t matter to me, I’d only agreed because it mattered so much to him. Looked at that way, of course, I was the phony. My marriage wasn’t nearly as serious as my divorce would be. It took me a decade to understand the value — the purpose — of marriage. The civil rights and the legal perks. But more than that, it took me a decade to understand how much I wanted the validity, the seriousness, the deference, the recognition of my relationship. I came to her with the best of me, and the state pretended it was make believe.

      I’d like to post your comment as a separate, unique blog entry, here on my site, for the Marriage Project. Are you willing? Thank you for sharing with us.

  7. I’ve always been a supporter of marriage equality, but I had an experience just over a year ago that really brought the issue home for me.

    My husband got severely ill and severely dehydrated and had to be rushed from work to the ER. I grabbed the kids and rushed there to be with him. We were all scared and upset, seeing his incredibly pale face and uncontrollable shivering.

    Then someone from admissions came in and asked me to fill out some forms. Before handing me the clipboard, she asked if I was his wife. I also had to write my relationship to him on the form.

    It hit me that the only reason I could fill out those forms, and the only reason I even had a right to be there holding his hand, is because I fell in love with the “right” kind of person in society’s eyes. If I had all of the same feelings, the same history, and the same relationship with a woman, I could be sitting in the waiting room for hours, not knowing what’s going on, and not able to provide comfort to her when she was afraid. I stood there crying, trying not to let my kids see while also keeping my tears from falling on the form.

    Love doesn’t fall within boundaries. It goes where it will. Our decree of which relationships are acceptable will never change someone’s heart. But our society continues to fight against loving relationships and denies the right of a certain class of people to enter into a legal contract that grants not only rights, but responsibilities.

    I just don’t understand.

  8. Let’s say you have a friend.
    Someone you feel you have known your whole life. You’re always thinking about your friend. They light up your world, make the path to bring the sunshine through gray clouds on the rainiest day. They are intertwined in every one of your thoughts in some way. Their name is barely spoken in a hallway and your head turns. When they touch you, you feel a spark, whether it is electric shock or a deep smolder, and your heart flutters, skips a beat. We all know this feeling, have or have once had this person. As elementary kids, who we take that dare to eat a bug for. As teenagers, who we stay up all night and sacrifice sleep just to talk to, spend time needed for homework and studying and family on them. As adults, accept to spend forever with them, because they are who you truly love. They are your best friend, who you would do anything in the world for.
    …Now let’s say, we take away that best friend.
    After all, some people may not like them. We all find something we don’t like about everybody else, right? There might be some characteristic about your best friend that other people do not like.
    So your best friend seems worthless to some, their feelings do not matter and by some people will never be viewed important.
    So some people abuse your best friend. They’re treated like livestock.
    Mentally, physically, even to the point of death, suicide or homicide.
    By people who don’t even know your best friend, don’t even know their name.
    Now how do you feel?

    Everyone has their own choice. THEIR choice, where it is no one else’s business but their own. Everyone has the right to be happy.
    This is about the couples of John and Jim, or Emily and Nicole. For the people who are only guilty of loving with their heart and soul, and keep that love through so much anger from other parts of the world. Who aren’t afraid to be who they are, be happy, while others try to push them down, shouting things like “It’s sick and against nature” in their faces. I admire your strength. And at times it may seem that you are alone; remember I am not the only one who feels this. You are beautiful. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. You are loved. Stay strong

    *Dedicated to anyone; straight, gay, lesbian, bi, who may feel stepped on by the world, and my friend, who should have heard this a long time ago. You can make such a difference in someones life in just one second, so make every single second one you are proud of. Spread the word. Make a change.

  9. I view marriage equality as an equalibrium of sorts. The balance will provide equality for those who have waged a tireless battle against the powers that be for the rights put in place by our forefathers when drawing up the Constitution…a clear separation between church and state.

    On a more personal level: Acceptance of two souls forging through life with recognition of their strong committment for one another, a love that knows it has the foundational fortitude provided by its nationalism, protection of tears to be shared with your lover over joy and sorrow, the settling of a child’s mind knowing that differences aren’t to be feared but seen as a lili in a field with thousands of daisies…laws that allow for equal existence.

  10. My partner and I got married, not for a piece of paper, rather as an important statement of commitment to each other. To grow our lives together, through thick and thin, the commitment gives us strength. When all is crashing around us, we know we have each other, even if we are only shells of ourselves, at times. Being married to my Flo, and she married to me, gives us shelter and comfort. Commitment gives us tangible love, respect and shelter when we can’t find the words.

    Every human being should have the right of mutual commitment with the person of their choice.

  11. I have two (probably more, if I were feeling more ambitious at this very moment, but we’ll stick with what I came in with) reasons to offer.

    The first is for the simple fact that to disallow any two cognizant, conscientious people to marry for whatever reason that has drawn them together is denying one of the rights that most of us tend to insist is inalienable to being human. It’s a denial of basic humanity – and that denial itself is one of the most hateful and inhumane acts, all the more insidious because it posits itself as ‘morality.’

    The second is because I am a bit of a ridiculous romantic. I think it is brave and lovely and a bit stupid and optimistic (in a good way – there is an evil to certain forms of optimism, too) to tell one person that you’re going to go about the rest of your days finding out delightful things about them, and mostly trying to forgive them (and yourself, too) for the not-awesome bits that also make up a life. This is an experiment bound to fail at times, maybe even most times. But, oh, when it succeeds… I think there is something magical in making precarious promises.

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Jill Malone

Jill Malone grew up in a military family, went to German kindergarten, and lived across from a bakery that made gummi bears the size of mice. She has lived on the East Coast and in Hawaii, and for the last seventeen years in Spokane with her son, two dogs, a hedgehog, and a lot of outdoor gear. She looks for any excuse to play guitar. Jill is married to a performance artist and addiction counselor who makes the best risotto on the planet.

Giraffe People is her third novel. Her first novel, Red Audrey and the Roping, was a Lambda finalist and won the third annual Bywater Prize for Fiction. A Field Guide to Deception, her second novel, was a finalist for the Ferro-Grumley, and won the Lambda Literary Award and the Great Northwest Book Festival.

Giraffe People

Giraffe People

Between God and the army, fifteen-year-old Cole Peters has more than enough to rebel against. But this Chaplain’s daughter isn’t resorting to drugs or craziness. Truth to tell, she’s content with her soccer team and her band and her white bread boyfriend.

And then, of course, there’s Meghan.

Meghan is eighteen years old and preparing for entry into West Point. For this she has sponsors: Cole’s parents. They’re delighted their daughter is finally looking up to someone. Someone who can tutor her and be a friend.

But one night that relationship changes and Cole’s world flips.

Giraffe People is a potent reminder of the rites of passage and passion that we all endure on our road to growing up and growing strong. Award-winning author Jill Malone tells a story of coming out and coming of age, giving us a take that is both subtle and fresh.

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A Field Guide to Deception

A Field Guide to Deception

In Jill Malone’s second novel, A Field Guide to Deception, nothing is as simple as it appears: community, notions of motherhood, the nature of goodness, nor even compelling love. Revelations are punctured and then revisited with deeper insight, alliances shift, and heroes turn anti-hero—and vice versa.

With her aunt’s death Claire Bernard loses her best companion, her livelihood, and her son’s co-parent. Malone’s smart, intriguing writing beguiles the reader into this taut, compelling story of a makeshift family and the reawakening of a past they’d hoped to outrun. Claire’s journey is the unifying tension in this book of layered and shifting alliances.

A Field Guide to Deception is a serious novel filled with snappy dialogue, quick-moving and funny incidents, compelling characterizations, mysterious plot twists, and an unexpected climax. It is a rich, complex tale for literary readers.

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Red Audrey and the Roping

Red Audrey and the Roping

Occasionally a debut novel comes along that rocks its readers back on their heels. Red Audrey and the Roping is one of that rare and remarkable breed. With storytelling as accomplished as successful literary novelists like Margaret Atwood and Sarah Waters, Jill Malone takes us on a journey through the heart of Latin professor Jane Elliot.

Set against the dramatic landscapes and seascapes of Hawaii, this is the deeply moving story of a young woman traumatized by her mother’s death. Scarred by guilt, she struggles to find the nerve to let love into her life again. Afraid to love herself or anyone else, Jane falls in love with risk, pitting herself against the world with dogged, destructive courage. But finally she reaches a point where there is only one danger left worth facing. The sole remaining question for Jane is whether she is willing to accept her history, embrace her damage, and take a chance on love.

As well as a gripping and emotional story, Red Audrey and the Roping is a remarkable literary achievement. The breathtaking prose evokes setting, characters, and relationships with equal grace. The dialogue sparks and sparkles. Splintered fragments of narrative come together to form a seamless suspenseful story that flows effortlessly to its dramatic conclusion.

Winner of the Bywater Prize for Fiction, Red Audrey and the Roping is one of the most memorable first novels you will ever read.

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