Bittersweet

A few days ago, Dave and I made an appointment at City Hall to apply for a marriage license. This was exciting because it makes our impending wedding seem so much more real. And it was depressing because well, our impending wedding GETS to be real, while thousands of others are denied the right to legally marry.

The recent passage of marriage equality in New York was somewhat bittersweet for me. On the one hand, I’m obviously thrilled by this victory for gay rights in New York. But all the news about how New York was the biggest state to allow gay marriages … I just couldn’t help but feel some sorrow about that.

Vestiges of California’s brief recognition of gay marriage abound. The California marriage license application, which at one point, merely listed spouse one and spouse two, now allows you the option of either listing yourselves as spouse one and spouse two or as bride and groom. It’s one of those things where if I didn’t know the history, I might just select bride and groom. I mean, that’s who we are, right? And yet, stupid as it is, picking bride and groom seems like a betrayal to our fellow brethren who are excluded.

It’s hard to be okay getting married in a state and a country that doesn’t support marriage for all. It’s hard to be okay getting married, knowing that but for the sands of time, we might be on the other side of the fence looking in:  a mere 45 years ago, my interracial marriage was illegal in many states as well.

It’s hard to get married and to know that actually, that little piece of paper matters. For social security, for health care, for visiting rights at hospitals yes, but also for the way that you’re treated by society. As if you are a grown up couple, as if your relationship is real, rated AAA.

So we make gestures, empty though they may feel. We voice our frustration. And we look forward to the next time we can go to the polls.

Because one thing I know with all my heart? Is that marriage equality is inevitable. But I’d like it to come sooner rather than later.

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