Say the magic word....
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I’m sure if you had asked either of us last year, we wouldn’t have predicted this. And even though ours is the one man-one woman model--and I mean that as description, not political rhetoric--we’re getting an unexpected lesson in the significance of same-sex marriage. Not that we ever questioned its importance and not that we haven’t been proud these past five years to be residents of Massachusetts, but our engagement has given us a whole new look at the institution of marriage. Let me explain.
We met in early 2007 and, last summer, began talking about moving in together. How to merge two lives is always a question that seems to have no possible answer. It’s especially complicated when the lives involve long tangles of friends and family members, the tether of treasured possessions, not to mention real estate.
His place was the logical choice, so I dismantled my apartment, parceling out furniture and all the et cetera; changed my legal address; got the new supply of checks, stationery, and address labels. Reader, I moved in with him. And when we decided to get married, it seemed like icing on the cake.
Of course we realized later that it’s the icing that gets all the attention. As soon as we told people we were getting married, we were....ta-da...engaged! E-mails flew, congratulations poured in, and people rushed to wish us well.
It was lovely. It was touching. And then it was a little odd. We shared a home, memberships in museums, subscriptions to newspapers. We shopped for groceries, cooked our meals, sent out birthday cards, together. Didn’t anyone notice we were already a couple?
And that’s when the same-sex marriage thoughts kicked in. From the moment we decided to move in together, we were clear in our intention that we were permanently a couple. But even when we thought we were making our situation clear, society didn’t seem to notice. I find myself chafing a little in the face of the ebullient tide of marriage chauvinism washing over us. What we are to each other isn’t more true or more committed, I tend to grouse to him, just more public.
So this is our own defense of marriage act, joining with those who believe that marriage is between two people who love each other and who are committed to creating one more small island of connection that may, we hope, radiate outward. So we’re getting married. Who doesn’t love icing, after all?