Thursday, 23 October 2008

Just a Little Post About Marriage

I'm married. All kinds of married, actually. And I don't write about it a lot, I don't even usually refer to T. as my wife, though I do call her Mrs. MacCool, just between us. Longtime readers (or those with a taste for the archives) might remember that we took off our wedding rings this spring in a gesture of ending a very dysfunctional, unhappy time in our relationship and starting anew. (I don't miss the ring, though I occasionally wake up terrified that I've lost it somewhere, grabbing my finger in confusion until I remember it's safe in my jewelry box, with T.'s rings.)

We first put those wedding rings on during our commitment ceremony, which took place in March 2002. Those moments when we were saying our vows, seemingly alone in the universe, are some of my most precious memories.

There followed a string of legal semi-commitments: a muncipal domestic partnership (or maybe two?), a whole lot of signing forms swearing that we were mutually interdependent and committed so that she could get health insurance through my work, you probably all know the drill.

And then we found ourselves living in Massachusetts once again, and we got legally married on June 12, 2005. We jokingly say that we eloped this time: it was just us and our minister (after a trip to City Hall, of course), on a drenchingly hot, sticky day. Then we went to the beach and watched barnacles open and close under water, and had dinner overlooking the harbor. It was awesome.

I think marriage has some major issues as a social and cultural institution. And I regret a lot about the ways in which I've treated my own marriage, or to put it differently, my relationship with T. in the first six years following our first ceremony. Most of all I regret taking her for granted as much as I did.

But I've never once regretted our legal union. The legal status, recognition, and protection mean an enormous amount. They take all sorts of anxieties off the table (though not all--our Massachusetts marriage is still far from equal in the federal context), and give me a sense of equality that is really something. It's not ultimately about whether I think marriage is a perfect social form or not; it's about, to paraphrase the California Supreme Court, equal protection under the law.

For a while it looked like our marriage was in imminent danger of being undone by a proposal to amend the state constitution. Our amendment process is lengthy and complicated. I thought I'd be voting on an amendment this fall, but as it turned out, our Legislature didn't let it get that far. Still, I remember the sense of threat and insecurity, which even now is never entirely absent; it's only a fraction, though, of what married queer Californians are going through right now.

On the slight chance that you're reading this, and you're a US citizen, and you haven't already done whatever it is you can do to defeat Proposition 8 in California, head on over to one of these web sites.

No on Prop 8
Lesbiandad (see the right-hand column for a full panoply of No on 8 links & info)

And finally, my own humiliating contribution to Looky, Daddy's series on Because Everyone Has the Right to Be Awesome:

Because everyone has the right to get married on the cusp of a massive gender identity crisis, and to wear the resulting bizarre pseudo-glam-rocker outfit, LEGALLY:
(cropped to remove not only my head but also the worst footwear choice of my life. My bride looked much better, I should add.)


Anonymous said...

aww Leo, that was beautiful.
Your outfit will have me smiling all night, but the sentiment in your words will stay with me in the most heart-warming way. I'm so happy that you both fought as hard as you did to stay together - you are an incredible couple.

Jesse said...

I say you wear THAT to the kd concert.

You and T are so sweet together!!

appple said...

as someone who has some serious residual childhood wedding dreams, (on the beach, in a ring of flowers, everyone barefoot, not sure who wears the dress) and as someone whose partner doesn't believe in the institution of marriage, and with all the 8 and 102 stuff infiltrating my conscience, i've been tossing around the officiating of it all, and have concluded that yes, us homos NEED to get married, if only to take a stand, stir up a ruckus, and make some fucking noise about equality for real.

i love yr glamrock days, and that you and t are still good through everything. you strengthen my fragile hope in commitment.

f said...

The pink/black combo gives you and H something in common........

Holden said...

Well said. Freedomgirl and you are an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Hear ye, hear him.

Prop 8 scares the carp out of me.

And that was beautiful.

Butch Boo said...

You can't beat love.