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November 3rd, 2008

05:32 pm: Why I Got Married, and Why That Matters
I first laid eyes on my future husband twenty years ago last Friday. (He was wearing a hockey mask and chasing people around with a chainsaw. The fact that this was not a deal-breaker in our relationship says a great deal about the participants.) On Cinco de Mayo of 2009, we will have been an item for twenty years; on New Year's Eve of that same year, we will have been married for ten. 

The timing of our wedding was hardly auspicious - December of 1999, with Y2K fears cutting into the fake-Millennial excitement. We figured "doom" was as good a theme for the event as we could hope for. So, in good contrarian fashion, we were driven to the event in a hearse. The guests were instructed to wear black, as did the bride. The bride did not grow her hair out or lose weight for the ceremony, instead opting to do both well after the event. The terms of the wedding oath was only "as long as we both want to," and the only proper vow either of us would willingly commit to was "I promise not to kill you." No bouquets were thrown, no traditions left undefiled. (Rumors that the groom did not survive the ceremony are overblown, although he did come back from the dead three years later. Whole 'nother story there.)

Now as you might guess, the wedding itself was viewed by the couple in question as something along the lines of an elaborate prank. Oh, sure, we love each other, but that wasn't the point of the ceremony. The point of the ceremony was to get the paperwork filed.

And what was in this magical paperwork? Mainly, my husband would be covered by my health insurance. Also, we would be able to file taxes together, if it made fiscal sense to do so. If my husband ended up in the hospital, I would be able to visit him without question; if I were to expire inconveniently, my last wishes to have my remains dumped from a coffee can into the Pacific Ocean - preferably with a headwind - would not be overridden by my family, who find such things inappropriate

And there are other bonuses that we didn't realize. The legally-recognized spouse is an all-purpose excuse for things we don't want to do, or buy, or care about. The wedding ring is really the Ring of Warding, heading off unwanted attention in many situations. Oh, and my mom would let us sleep in the same room when we came to visit, finally. People got us stuff, even when we asked them not to. It seemed to make a lot of other people happy.

As for us? We were already pretty happy with each other. Marriage has not altered the relationship in any way we have noticed, good or bad.  If all that was required of a relationship was for two people to stand up in front of a bunch of others and say nice things about each other, we can all agree the world would be far less complicated.

The part of a relationship that's really meaningful to me is the part that wakes up in the morning, looks over at the other side of the bed, and says, sure. It's the part where someone breaks something, or spends too much, or maybe runs the family car into someone else's, and it's not the end of the game. It's the whole richer, poorer, sickness, health, halitosis, inebriation, desperate sorrow and alarming good cheer that make up real life.

I have no idea how that fits in with this Dreadful Proposition we've got here in California. I really don't. Supporters claim they are "protecting the sanctity of marriage," which is really ridiculous considering that my godless husband and my godless self got married in a demon-friendly ceremony in order to get him the bennies and nobody told us "no." For that matter, there are untold numbers of couples who get married who really shouldn't. But it's not my right to say who can and can't, who should and shouldn't. (Not to their face, anyway.) Nor should it be anyone else's. It's a free country, last I heard.

What it comes down to is acceptance under the law, and acceptance that things change. Marriage as it is practiced today is a legal contract and a social contract, undertaken not solely by the participants to each other, but by the participants with the rest of society. (It is also, for those who believe in sanctity, a sacred union. Being myself slightly less spiritual than your average housecat, I do not cover material I am not competent in.) Legally, marriage is what puts me on his taxes and him on my health insurance. Socially, it gives my husband the ability to tell the mechanic "I'll have to check with my wife first,"  and what gives me the ability to avoid visiting my family because I will be "visiting his." It's a relationship that others have to acknowledge, and must work around or with. It is not negotiable. 

And this is where it becomes bigotry: there are those who feel that these rights, obligations, excuses, duties, and respect should be withheld from certain pairs of people who wish to undertake them. They do not want to recognize what they don't believe in. They want out of that social contract, the one that tells us we must support the relationships of other people. They don't want to give credit for good behavior. They don't want to confront anything that they can't explain, they don't want to be inconvenienced.  And in order to do that, they feel they must deny that legal contract first. 

I call bullshit. Be an asshole on your own time, people; don't bring the state Constitution into it. I have a hearty respect for the rule of law, but there's places it should not go. I married a noisy, anarchist, underemployed filmmaker with a penchant for public misbehavior; you may think I shouldn't have, but you don't get a vote. My husband married me, an uppity, belligerent feminist who doesn't do as she's told. You may think he shouldn't have, but you don't get a vote there, either. And now, because the idea of boys loving boys or girls loving girls gets your panties in a knot, you suddenly think your opinion means more to the world than theirs. People you don't even know, and you suddenly give a shit how they conduct their lives. Or, worse; you do know them. And you'd rather they be unhappy, so long as you don't have to keep thinking about it. You don't want to explain to your kids, you don't want to explain to yourself; so long as you can get riled about someone else's behavior you don't have to look at your own. Time you spend telling other people what kind of relationships they can have is time spent away from your own.

Don't like gay marriage? Don't have one. And hands off my fucking Constitution.


EDIT: Feel free to link to this, if you like.



November 22nd, 2006

07:30 pm: Witness Protection Program
Last unlocked entry for a while, I'm afraid. If you want to stay up to date, you'll need to have an lj account and friend me, if you haven't already.

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