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. ;)