We got married. You were not invited. I’m sorry. We were invited, but barely.
Pam and I went on our first date in July of 1999, and it’s taken me at least that last 15 years to sort out enough of my feelings about marriage to actually decide to get married. And I’m still sorting. But there were finally enough reasons, and by that I mean enough benefits, to getting married that we did it.
Marriage, in the most practical terms, affords certain protections and guarantees. If I sound like a lawyer, that’s intentional, because this is about the law. Our marriage, which took place on the last day in September, was conducted by a judge and approved by a courthouse clerk in Illinois. We didn’t have a wedding. And we barely told anyone about our plans, because I didn’t want people to feel left out. How ironic.
But the irony doesn’t end there. A week later, and four days after we returned home to Colorado, the media megaphone announced that the Supreme Court had refused to entertain any more cases banning gay marriage, because they have made up their mind on this topic: People of the same sex are allowed to get married and entitled to the same benefits, at least as far as they’re concerned. I was driving home from the dentist when Pam called to tell me.
“The AG is issuing marriage licenses in Colorado,” she said. Not one for time-wasters like “Hello” or “How is your day, sweetheart,” it took me a minute figure out who the AG was and what we were talking about.
“Should we have known this would happen?”
My worry is always that we’re not legitimate homosexuals, not because we don’t love each other and enjoy doing unsanctimonious acts to each other, but because we’re not following the gay causes closely enough.
“I don’t think so,” said Pam. “Do you regret getting married last week?”
“Of course not!” And I didn’t regret going to Chicago, either, because we’ve always wanted to eat at a Rick Bayless restaurant and see the Field Museum of Natural History. So, if you’re wondering about a honeymoon, that was it. It wasn’t the Seychelles, but it was lovely.
We might have a wedding. We want to get rings. And like all of our big life events, it’s coming to us slowly and in small parts. I like it this way, most of the time, because in spite of wanting to believe that change comes with iconic images and large bursts of joy, by now I understand that life is made up of small, sometimes almost unnoticeable acts.
It’s taken more than a hundred years for our collective democracy to decide that I could marry the person I love. And it feels like a consolation prize. It promises that I can ask for and should receive all of the monetary and legal benefits that marriage has bestowed on everyone else who has made this choice, but it doesn’t guarantee much else. It doesn’t feel like a gift as much as a necessity.
And now to decide if we will have a wedding. What do you think?