What I Want for my 25th Birthday

Since I’ve now entered into the Summerhood of my Adulthood (and can rent a car without incurring an under-25 fee), I think I am allowed (not entitled) to ask for something big for my birthday. And what do I want? I want to legally marry my fiancee in 2012.

I know. I know. The way the legislature and the judicial system moves, that’s unlikely to happen in the next few years, let alone the next one. But hey, at least there’s a senate judiciary committee that’s met (once) on the possibility of repealing DOMA. And there’s the ongoing proposition 8 trial which is  inching closer and closer to the Supreme Court, with an incredible body of evidence of both actual, scientific studies and expert witnesses. And there are oodles and boodles of marriage equality organizations out there, each working towards the goal in their own way.

So you might not be able to call up congress and get them to overturn DOMA for my birthday (unless you can, in which case, what the hell is stopping you?), but you can help the process along a teensy bit by chipping in. I’m really partial to Lamda Legal, which doesn’t focus explicitly on marriage, but rather all civil rights pertaining to the LGBTQ population through litigation, education, and public policy. Freedom to Marry is a much more focused group, working state-by-state to recognize same-sex marriage as well as on the federal level to overturn DOMA. Both of them accept donations. 🙂

I’ve wanted to get married since I was a teeny thing, like most teeny things. The most devastating part of figuring out I was gay, for me, was realizing I wouldn’t get to marry. That shouldn’t have been such a big deal, but sometimes the unimportant things are the most important. When California allowed same-sex marriage for that brief window of time and then Massachusetts, and then Iowa, it suddenly didn’t seem so far-fetched. Suddenly, more and more people were recognizing my relationship as legitimate. And at the same time, it was helping me to realize that yes,  lesbians can have life-long loving relationships just like straight people. I didn’t exactly have any gay role models growing up.

But why marriage? Why that extra step when I can just as easily live with my fiancee for life? Why do I need that validation from the state?

For one, it’s not just validation from the state. Socially, there is a huge difference between the way a girlfriend vs a spouse is treated. My coworkers asked why I was moving to AZ when my fiancee was accepted into grad school here. The same coworkers simply assumed my friend would be moving with her husband to IL when he was accepted as a postdoc there. She was eligible to receive unemployment when she moved, even though she had voluntarily quit her job. I was not. A girlfriend may or may not be invited to family functions, and it would certainly be awkward if she showed up unannounced. A spouse has an assumed invitation.

Nevermind the legal implications. Nevermind that by denying us legal marriage, you’re implying that we can’t possibly love each other as much as a hetero couple can, can’t possibly ever function as a family unit, complete with 1.5 children and a dog-cat. That we don’t have the same aspirations. That we don’t strive to fit in and be accepted. That we want to just sit back and let society think we don’t exist.

I’m going to get married next year. It’s going to be a small affair in a big red barn in the fall. My family will be there. Her family will be there. Our friends will be there. And I want them to all meet each other and make new friends and be happy. I want to have fun and see friends and family I haven’t seen in years. I want to eat cake and wear a silly white dress and dance until my heels hurt. I want our families to get along, and become a big uber-family that can call each other up when they need to.

And I’d really like it to be legal. So when I come back home I can call her my wife without having to explain. So that slowly, slowly people will realize it’s just not going to affect them and maybe having a little more officiated love in this world is a good thing.

Donate to Lambda Legal. Donate to Freedom to Marry.

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Filed under ardent wishes, civil rights, marriage

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