Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I am after all blogging about my wedding...

Well, Estelle has a discussion about marriage vs. civil unions going, but since she wanted to talk to others she found who didn't want to get married, I thought I'd talk about why I do on my own blog. It seems there are quite a few queer folks who would like to have a civil union (with equal rights to marriage) in order to protect their families, but do not want to get married. That's totally fine, as all things are not for everyone, and we all have our own reasons for what we do. I find it ridiculous that straight couples who don't want to get married, are forced to get married in order to protect their legal rights, and gay couples who do want to get married can't and are pushed to accept civil unions they don't want in order to protect their rights. The other issue was whether or not pushing for equal marriage rather than civil unions makes the political climate more anti-gay. I really don't think so, because conservatives will always try to eliminate civil rights for gay people, no matter what the context is- but I'm not going to get into that here. I already wrote it in a comment on Estelle's post, so if you want to read that, you're going to have to go give her some blog-love.

Now, for why I personally want to get married. It's true that our legal rights as a family are a huge part of our decision to get married, but that's not really the issue for me. Of course I want equal rights, but I would still be having a wedding even if our marriage weren't legal. Indeed, we really have no idea whether or not it will stay legal for very long in Massachusetts, and know full well that it's not going to be recognized anywhere else, but we're still doing what we want to do. We want to have a wedding- in our church, guided by a clergy person, with our family and friends as witnesses. That isn't for everyone- my sister and her partner (straight couple) have chosen not to get married for the last ten years (am I right, S, 10?), but I know they'd probably love to be able to protect themselves legally with something like a civil union. They can't get that right now because they're straight. I think it's ridiculous to divide the two (quite different) contracts into one for straights and one for gays, instead of letting everyone, gay and straight, decide what they want to do. Moreover, I think it is religious oppression- my faith recognizes the sacredness of our relationship and practices weddings, and I ought to be able to practice my religion. Don't believe people who say that marriage should be between men and women because it says so in the Bible- firstly marriages have been practiced in pretty much every religion, not just christianity, so the Bible does not have a corner on marriage- secondly, we live in a secular society- thirdly, the Bible does not define marriage as for straights only, people have distorted the real messages of the Bible so disgustingly that it makes me angry and sick to my stomach. So, I agree with the idea that public law ought to have civil unions for everyone, and leave marriage to individuals and congregations, but I still want the choice. I don't want to be forced into a civil union because it's as close as I can get to what I want- to marry the woman I love.

Personally, this is going to be one of the pinnacle moments of my life- I cry practically every time I think about it. For myself, I believe in making this spiritual and loving vow in front of our community. I believe in making it for ourselves, too. We'll be having a private ceremony first thing in the morning, where we can enter this marriage together with our own marker and our own resolution. Then, we'll have our wedding with our friends and family, dresses, tiara, veil, flowers galore, centerpieces and favors, dinner and cake, and great music, because it is what we want to do.

I don't think of myself or my love or my relationship as essentially different, and certainly not inferior to, those of straight people. I don't think of what we will be entering into as a "committment" or a "civil union"- if I wanted to do that, I'd be having a committment ceremony or simply going to city hall- I'm having a wedding because I want to have a marriage with J. I know that some queer people will cry assimilationism. That we are not like straight people and should not try to be like straight people. But that's a problematic idea for me- I am not like gay people either. I know this is elementary, but there is no one way to be straight or gay, and to assume that we're essentially different is just as faulty as assuming we're 100% the same. The reality is that there are those who want to get married and those who want civil unions and there are those who don't want either, like there are people who want to be doctors and people who want to be stay at home moms, like there are people who like mint-chocolate-chip and people who like cookies-n-cream. It really doesn't have to do with your sexual orientation, at least not for me, it has to do with your personal style and what you want to do with your life. So I want to get married. And don't anybody stand in the way of my free choice to do so, or else Bridezilla will have to open a big, butch can of lesbo whoopass. ;)


derangels said...

well, well well. you just said exactly what i thought when this whole ridiculous spectacle started in MA. people down at the state house fighting for rights they should already have (and already do, according to current MA law), religious and other zealots fighting against things that are none of their business and don't affect their lives whatsoever. all while there are so many things, globally and locally, that actually need people's attention, time, and energy (hello? starvation and disease are slowly killing off the human race...the human race is slowly killing off its home planet...). i said (and you can ask T!), how 'bout if we just strike marriage "law" entirely and don't allow ANYONE to have a civil 'marriage'? civil unions for all, and only civil unions. then the churches (many of which apparently consider themselves of utmost importance in the whole civil marriage scheme) can marry whomever they want, wherever they want, and with whatever kind of traditional or weird pageantry they want. (there! does that make everyone happy? of course not!!!)

around that same time i heard a commmentary on NPR by a lesbian admonishing any heterosexuals who were living together but not married. she wants us all to get married because she lives in a state that does not allow her to, can't imagine why anyone in love would not want to be married, and thinks we are somehow doing a disservice to the gay rights struggle by not doing so. and no, she did not sound like she was joking.

i too am at a loss trying to understand why many people seem to want to either completely homogenize the population or create artificial differences between groups of people. i think it may be related to these arguments we keep having as a country over "moral" issues (gay rights, womens rights, evolution, prayer in school, etc, etc, etc) and our apparent issues with fear. we, or at least our opinions, feel safer in a group of 'like minded' people. unfortunately (and perhaps tragically), this has led to many hours of useless "dialogue" (hate that word used in this context) and little actual discussion.

i don't know why we are so afraid of our own uniqueness. i am by far more despairing of the groupthink that forms the fabric of American public life these days, which strikes me as truly destructive.

ok, back to the subject at hand. ummm, yeah, it's been 9.5 years for T and i. and yes, things would be far easier for us if we 'just got married' (as our parents and random strangers on NPR are fond of telling us, as if we don't know). my previous employer provided health insurance for domestic partners, but only if they were gay, and only because they considered MA law to be discriminatory (don't know what they're doing now). so essentially my employer was also telling me to 'just get married'. but, just because it would be easy and people are pressuring you to do something does not mean that you should (in fact, those are often the very reasons i run screaming AWAY from doing something). it would be nice to have a civil union so we could both get health insurance, could do our taxes properly, wouldn't have to count on the kindness of hospital staff, etc. etc. etc. but the truth is still run hot-and-cold on the idea of marriage partly because of all the scary imagery associated with it (two people becoming one, how does that work???). and i just won't do it until i am ready...is that so unreasonable? not that any of this is public business...

ok, i'm done ranting. sorry this comment was so long, but you asked!


Michele said...

Hi. Can you e-mail me at:

michele (dot) melendez (at) newhouse (dot) com?

I'd like to ask you something about your Dec. 9 post (regarding feminism).


-- Michele

starevelina said...

I'm sorry, but in an effort to avoid hate mailers, I rarely give out my email address to online-folks (especially with readers who don't have a blog or at least profile, I'm pretty wary). You're probably a nice person, so I hope this doesn't offend you, it's really just for my own protection. Hate mail sucks. Especially hate spam. This I know from experience, so I'd be glad to discuss the post in the comments- I don't mind mixing up topics in the comments, so feel free to comment about it on this post. If there's a special reason you can't, please just tell me a little about yourself and/or make a profile, and I'd be glad to communicate via email.
About the post itself, I hope you weren't offended by it in some way- reading back over it, it may not read as I wanted it to- really it was just about my own insecurity with not having a paying job at the time (but rather, keeping house and taking care of J) and surprise at myself for not necesarily wanting one- not about feminism itself, but relating my feelings to the stigma placed upon homemakers and stay-at-home-moms that causes their work to be devalued. And I don't even have a remotely experienced opinion on it- my stint was very short lived and I'm working full time again by now, out of necessity and drive. I think, like I said in the post, that I was simply having mixed emotions over not working for several months, after having had several years of full time work and full time school simultaneously- it sucked but I kind of liked the hard work and self-sufficiency of it, so I had a little identity crisis when I finally had J to support me through my last semester of school. And the last line was a little satire on stereotypes, that's all. So... hm, I think I covered everything that may have been misunderstood about the post. Forgive me if that has nothing to do with your question, and for the long-winded response.

Estelle said...

I just wrote this long ass comment and blogger ate it.
Blogger hates gay marriage. grrrr.
I agree with you on most fronts. Um, email me and I will try to recreat my brilliant comment. I trust that I have enough credo for you to know I am not a hate spammer ;)

starevelina said...

Of course, Estelle, anybody who's so brave about sharing their life with others on a blog is in my book of trustworthy- you do a great job. (Hint, Hint: everybody who hasn't been to Estelle's blog, that's your cue to go check it out)