Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Getting married in America

I have a fiancee (just pretend there's an accent mark there). We're knuckling down to getting married in a little over a year, which means we're looking at vendors and having to break, often to complete strangers, that there are two sets of bridal nerves to deal with at any given moment.

Originally, I was going to write a post about how we've been getting a fairly good response to the whole gay thing from photographers, caterers, reception sites, etc. -- largely, the impression seems to be that they're as happy to take our money as they are any straight couple. So it's been largely painless.

But there's another thought that's been lurking around, and I'm not sure whether it's a good idea to mention it or not. It's this: We could sneak into Massachusetts and get ourselves a marriage license. We could go to Vermont and get a civil union. We could even wander into Canada for our honeymoon and get hitched international-style.

We might not do any of those things. Because if we did... we'd be on a list.

A list of confirmed homosexuals. A list that we would have a very difficult, if not impossible, time removing ourselves from if we should find ourselves in a country that takes the issue of homosexuality to a level where it would be actively dangerous to be gay in America.

Maybe a list wouldn't be a bad thing. But we don't really know. How will the country vote next election? How will the new president decide to address gay marriage?

Paranoia isn't very fun, particularly when you've got things like guest lists to consider. And maybe a month from now we'll shake our heads and plan our honeymoon trip to Montreal, complete with jaunt to the court house and a lot of crepes afterwards. But I suppose the point I want to hammer in here is that instead of just stressing out about where in the world to sit Uncle Morris to keep him as far away as possible from Cousin Doreen Who Still Remembers That Time Morris Did That Horrible Thing -- instead of just that, we have to consider this one little extra thing: whether registering our existence will lead to personal, possibly life or way-of-life threatening persecution.

It's frightening. It's maddening. And once you've thought of it, it's very, very difficult to ignore.

ADDENDUM: Paranoia isn't the only thing for breakfast here. My fiancee, Beth, points out that the above makes us sound more than a little alarmist. Are such issues with government a possibility? Sure. But on the other hand, I seem to have implied that the above reasons are the only reasons we have for not registering our marriage with any ruling bodies. They aren't. Beth's biggest concern is that, as of her last checking, LAMBDA didn't seem to have reached a conclusion as to which of the various marriage rosters would be the most advantageous for personal and tax purposes. We don't want to end up being forced into a "divorce" two years from now just so we can qualify for a mortgage in our state of residence.

We're not sure we're settled with our current decision to opt out of the marriage mart. We're not sure that it is right to duck and cover -- even if part of our reasoning is practical. To stand up and be counted, to show that gay marriage matters -- this is something important for the next generation of gay children... even if their parents do have to get "remarried" three times just to pay for the house.

If anyone's got a better reading of the matter, give us a shout out -- we want to be convinced.


Anonymous GP said...

Wow that's an interesting perspective on gay marriage that I wouldn't have thought of...

12:22 AM

Blogger Dykes of Mercy said...

interesting - i live in south africa where these issues are currently a hot debate - a civil unions bill is being proposed now, and contested (by the lgb movement)

4:56 AM

Anonymous Parrish said...

I've thought of the same thing, actually. So if you are paranoid, so am I.

Of course, since I've been with my partner for over 13 years now, if things got really ugly I'd be on the "round-up list" anyhow. But the thought had occurred about gay marriage being used in that manner.

11:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Morning,
I don't WANT to be anon, just don't have a blogspot yet. I had similar thoughts about 10 years ago while living in Connecticut. Moved to Vermont 6 years ago, unionized (Civil Union) 5 years ago. What changed my mind was our children. I have 3, my partner has 2. Now we have grandchildren (2 and 1 on the way.)
If I can't bear to stand up and be counted, if I let fear force me into ANY closet, then what the hell am I teaching them? Is it ethically sound to raise children to believe that any relationship that doesn't meet some federal standard is not to be celebrated, honored and recognized?
I know that it is easier to say living in Vermont, land of the liberal, home of the weird, than it would be in more, uh, conservative states. But I believe that if it comes to a point where they start rounding up the queers, we're already f***ed. They'll find you anyway.
There are already an estimated 5 million queerspawn in this country and, as noted above, they are reproducing. If the government were to consider rounding up queers they would face stiff opposition from an as yet unrecognized group, our children and grandchildren.
I no longer have any fear about my CU status.

9:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat here again,
If by chance you decide to CU in Vermont, I'd be happy to do the ceremony for you, gratis. The more the merrier!

9:11 AM


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