I've been joking about our marital status ever since Prop 8 passed. Even from the beginning it was odd, only valid or recognized in certain states, and certainly not my native Texas. Are we married, or are we not? Depends. Then once Prop 8 passed, suddenly even the small amount of recognition was also in limbo. Suddenly a contract we had both signed was...well what was it?
Back home it seemed than there hadn't been much change. We started wearing wedding rings, and calling each other husband, not partner or boyfriend, but the relationship stayed pretty much the same. We've been lax about hiring a lawyer to draw up power of attorney documents and getting things taken care of legally, for no matter how California sees us after today, until the Defense of Marriage Act is overturned federally, we won't have the same rights and privileges here in Texas. Texas has a constitutional amendment that bars recognition of same-sex marriages and civil unions, or the creation of them by the state. I think Texas would be one of the last states to get rid of the rule, much like it took a federal court case to get rid of sodomy laws here.
Our opponents are desperately seeking a win from the court today. the news lately has been heavily in the favor of marriage equality. Today they will hope that mob rule trumps the rights of minorities and they continue to try to paint the picture of marriage as one reserved strictly for heterosexual couples (or opposite marriage as some deep thinker put it).
It still makes me mad when they continue to try to spin that marriage is tied to the churches when it has long been the fact that no church would have to sanction the union of two heterosexual people (or two people of opposite sex, regardless of their orientation, really). State sanctioned marriage has been a separate institution as much as the separation of church and state has been the law of this land. No one has had to get the permission of a church for years to get married, and the state, not the church grants the rights and privileges of marriage - at least in this life.
And it's not like I couldn't fine a church to get married in. You might not be able to get hitched in a Catholic church to you same-sex partner, but plenty of other denominations will do it, and still have the same appreciation of your Prada loafers.
Let's face it, marriage hasn't been as sacred as our opponents make it out to be since they started granting no-fault divorces. Say what you want about the bonds of matrimony, but when it comes down to it, the partners can break the contract almost as easily as any two business partners. Marriage is a contract from the state, the spiritual stuff is up to someone else.
One thing that throws me is that ads that the proponents of "traditional marriage" (sorry for the scare quotes, but I couldn't come up with another way of putting it, but marriage has changed over the years, from a property situation to a search for a match between two people- another reason not to deny marriage equality) seem to come up with ads that keep up the scare factor that gays are going to come and steal marriage away from them. I never see an ad that seems to truly state why keeping marriage as a separate institution for heterosexuals is important. What is it that we are supposed to be stealing from them? We aren't taking away their rights, or trampling on their relationships. We aren't going to take their children away from them. Heck, for nearly half of them, it doesn't seem that marriage has actually been that great of a institution for them.
It's hard to state how marriage has changed my life, maybe because with the passage of Prop 8 it never seemed fully real. Sure, we exchanged vows in a quickly arranged ceremony under some really odd circumstances. It's something, like many other married couples, we might have waited a little longer to do, but the political situation and the fact that it was California pushed along our decision.
Still, hearing the vows, even if they were done in front of a small group in a conference room of a county clerk's office still made for one of the happiest moments in my life. Those words, weather there's a piece of paper with them or not still stand for me.
I know that chris' family would like us to have a reception, or even a larger ceremony, but I know I've shied away from it because of the political situation. My own family isn't really on-board with the whole marriage thing, so I'm not sure if they would be inclined to come to something or not (not that they don't like Chris, but it's one of those things that the reality of what's family vs. the political dogma don't always mix well). Maybe if things are positive for us today we'll look into doing something bigger, but for now a simple ceremony is fine, and truly, our core relationship together didn't change, and won't change from what happens today.
(Of course the jokey guys that we are, as he was leaving I said that we'll see if we are still married after today, Chris on the way out said i should watch the news and if Prop 8 is upheld he expects that my stuff will be out of the house, as he will not live with someone in sin. Heh.)
I'd marry Chris again if today's verdict comes down against us. I'm not sure there's any great push to do it though. Sure I could get married in Iowa, or New England, but really, without the rights being here in Texas, it's as meaningful as any other piece of paper in the printer drawer. The relationship remains the same either way. With Chris being from California, then the California license was special to us. I'd love to get married in Texas, and maybe one day, many years from now, we will, but I'm not waiting for it.
We will see how the court rules. Because of my work schedule, I don't think I can make it to the rally today, but I'm sure there will be many more rallies, because either way, there's still a very long fight to go, and we're going to have both wins and losses.
So who knows. I say that it won't affect me, but maybe because I've been trying not to get my hopes up, waiting these long months for a decision, maybe it will be something I take more personally than I care to admit at this moment. I look right now and I see that we have a chance to really make history, but I am trying to steel myself for the likely possibility that we will lose today, activist judges be dammed. On we go to the next fight, state by state, and eventually the country.
Still, I'll be keeping the ring on, and still calling Chris my husband,no matter the validity of a piece of paper. My day of decision came when we decided to date each other, and it's only been validated by the choice to move in together and late on the day that we said our vows. A ruling form a court isn't changing that. I think we can still get away with having a first anniversary celebration in October even if it's for our six year relationship.
Update: So there you have it. Prop 8 was upheld by the California Supreme Court, but the existing marriages stand, makeing us a limited, collector's edition marriage that's still only recognized in a few states. Expect to see more litigation, both on recognition of these limited edition marriages, and probably a few trying to still invalidate them as they don't jibe with current CA law. The battle continues.
I guess I should frame that marriage licence after all.