Friday, June 09, 2006
Best friends for life
This started out as a fairly brief post and ended up being three pages so I have split it into 2 issues, the second one to be posted on Monday, June 12.

After 6 years and 4 months of fairly unholy queer matrimony, I feel like I have an obligation to make a statement about this whole gay marriage thing. It's unfair that Michael and I, who love each other no more or less than any other couple we know, can get married and yet, half of the people we know cannot.

I want to make all of the logical arguments for same-sex marriage but I feel like first I have to share my story - and the reasons we got married.

I am married. Legally.

I came out as a lesbian in 1989. Michael came out as a gay man in 1982. We haven’t been to Exodus, I promise.

In 1999, Michael's lover of 10 years, Jeff, died of AIDS-related non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. We were living together at the time and I felt like taking care of Michael was my duty to him. I wanted to. Seven months later, Michael and I decided to officially become family. There is no other system in which to do this, so we got married.

When my husband and I went to the Clark County Marriage Bureau (open 8 a.m. to midnight, every day except holidays when it is open 24 hours a day) we were asked to fill out our names and any other names we had ever gone by. We were asked if we were currently married to anyone else. If we had looked under 18, they might have asked for proof of age (they didn't). We filled out our social security numbers, but no one checked. Then we handed over the cash (it was $35 then, it’s now $55).

After that, we walked across the street and Pat, the Clark County Commissioner (for another $35) asked us if we took each other as husband and wife and best friends for life. We said we did. We were married. That’s it. God was not there, but we were married. We chose this commitment and it was up to us, not the government or our families to keep it, to honor it in whatever way we see fit. No one has checked in on our marriage to see if we’ve consummated it (we haven’t). No one’s ever checked to see if the structure is holding up or if we can pay our bills or if we’re having a bad day. Yet, when I went off the edge, Michael took care of me. I make sure that there is almost always a cold Budweiser in the fridge. He kills all random bugs and takes out the trash.

When my sister got married, in the traditional big family style, I was her matron of honor. My husband helped my widowed grandmother down the aisle. Under my name in the program it said

"Faith – Matron of Honor - I’m still waiting for the shirt that says, My lesbian sister and her gay husband went on a cruise and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

Does it sound like we’re undermining the value of her marriage? Did inviting Rod and Charlie, together for 22 years with a heterosexual son who just graduated at the top of his class and is going to an Ivy League school undermine the value of her marriage?

I promise you, it did not. It showed that when two people love and adore each other, even when they are not the same as everyone else, it provides a model for strength. It demonstrates that, if they can do it, with so many odds against them, that others can too.

It illustrates that each of us has our complications. Some of us have a former coke habit that we wish the country would forget about already. Others love someone that their parents and president don’t approve of.

P.S. The Frontiers article is finally online!!

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Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

Mazeltov Faith and Michael! May you celebrate many years of happiness TOGETHER!!!

p.s. Is Michael coming to "wig night" at the WeHo SnB?

Blogger Elizabeth McClung said...

Thanks for sharing your story - and congrats on your years together. As a christian, I was joined in "holy union" - whatever that means (I always thought it mean God thought we would be good together) - over 10 years ago, though not recognized legally until 2 years ago. It was one of my greatest frustions that Christians seemed incapable of understanding that they couldn't stand up for holy unions and then decided that God had to follow thier lead and desires on who should or should not be allowed to be brought together. As we told our church (who afterward kicked us out): God HAS joined us, what is left for you to decide is whether, as avowed followers of God's desires, you will follow and acknowledge it. Guess God is suppose to wait until humans decide what God can and can't do (and who God is and isn't allowed to love).

Blogger Allison said...

Marriage is a man-made institution, relatively new compared to procreating. So really, if you think about it, it's pretty unnatural. What gives us (or government for that matter) the power to define what the terms should be and shouldn't? It's a choice every day to be with the person you marry. I think if in this crazy world you can make it work for you, well hell, more power to you!

Blogger Jen said...

Maybe it's because I'm simple minded, or just not creative enough to come up with a good reason why gay marriage should be illegal. but it just seems to me that people are blurring legality with their view of morality. I don't personally agree with some people's views that homosexuality is a sin, but if that's what they want to believe, I'm certainly not going to persecute them for it. I don't think they should persecute others for their beliefs either. But to me, these beliefs have no business being acted upon in congress. What's up with that? If it's predominantly a religious reason why marriage should be defined as between one man and one woman, then maybe we should leave it to the churches to decide whom they will marry and whom they will not. I think it's perfectly within a church's right to decide that. But city hall? C'mon. as you've confirmed, they pretty much just want to make sure that you have the right paperwork and fees paid to process it. It's not for legislators to pass judgment.

Blogger Cheryl:) said...

I loved this.... (I came here via Crazy Aunt Purl btw)... people marry for various reasons... in my case it'll be 28 years... and generally it was because he was "safe"... thanks for sharing this...

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