What does marriage even mean anymore?
When I tell people I’m having a baby in September, I notice a lot of them glance almost automatically at my left-hand, presumably looking for a wedding ring. Some have even outright asked me if I am- or going to be- getting married. My answer is always the same: “No. Not yet, anyway.”
It’s not that I don’t believe in the commitment. I love my partner dearly. After all, I’m having his child. When I was a young girl, I dreamed of that handsome prince from just about every Disney movie that I was told I was entitled to. Even though I wasn’t technically a princess, I couldn’t escape the belief that I deserved a knight in shining armor just as much as Snow White.
Modern men are many things wonderful. But most of them aren’t princes. It was easy to let relationships fail, citing the lack of true fairy tale love. But mostly, it was probably my fear. Or, like they say, the timing just wasn’t right. The glass slipper didn’t fit.
After I spent a lot of time alone, and a good bit of that relationshipless time with a male friend, we soon found ourselves falling in love. It’s hard now to even remember us just as friends, but it is that friendship that lies at the core of our love, and why we are starting a family together.
It’s not because both of us endured our parents’ ugly divorces that we’re choosing not to get married. It’s not that we’re scared, or don’t love each other enough to make that kind of commitment. We love a good gathering. And lord knows, we could use a new toaster. It’s our discomfort in the way our country now views marriage that has us feeling so disenchanted by one of the world’s oldest, and most beautiful rituals.
How could we have a wedding and invite our friends—many of whom are homosexuals and lesbians—to celebrate our heterosexual right to marry while they’re denied that same right just because of who they love?
A baby is certainly an incentive for us to get married, but the injustice for people whom we already know and love dearly is an even bigger reason for us not to, no matter the difficulties we’ll be faced with as unmarried parents. We have friends who’ve been in much longer relationships than ours who are unable to marry. And even though
ten eleven states (go Delaware!) now allow gay marriage, the Supreme Court has yet to rule on the issue. More than that, there are those narrow-minded individuals who somehow feel threatened by same-sex couples. We allow these people their first amendment right to speak their shallow minds, of course, and they throw our Constitution right back at us, saying our forefathers would have never approved of same-sex marriage. (I won’t even go into the religious hypocrisy of the we’re-not-gay-we’re-just-serial-pedophiliac-sex-offenders aka the Catholic Church.)
It’s not like we won the lottery, and our unrich friends have to adjust to us now being millionaires. And it’s nowhere near the unbelievable comparisons homophobes make suggesting gay marriage is the same as marrying a relative or (sigh) a dog. I didn’t live through the Civil Rights movement. My parents weren’t even born when Hitler was rounding up our relatives and executing them by the trainload. So I can only look back at the mistakes my fellow Earthlings have made with hindsight and melancholy. It hurts to think about those millions of people who suffered at the hands of fear and entitlement. It hurts to know that it took so long to correct, and in some cases, we’re still battling those same issues. Gay people aren’t slaves. They’re not forced to live in the ghetto wearing yellow stars before their families are ripped apart, tortured and murdered. But they’ve certainly been unjustly treated. They’ve been demoralized, attacked, ridiculed. Before anyone is a homosexual, a lesbian or a heterosexual, we’re all human beings first.
The real issue here is we have a lot of issues around sexuality. We allow abuse and objectification to proliferate. We don’t stand up for victims of sexual abuse–regardless of their gender. We suppress our own feelings for fear of what others will say or do. That’s what this issue is about. It’s not about what our forefathers envisioned for America. It’s obvious they envisioned progressive leadership, compassion and an ability to grow as a nation as our needs and wants changed with the times.
I don’t believe that any of our gay friends would criticize us for marrying. They are friends, after all, and want to see us happy, just as much as we want the same for them. And many of them are probably going to be shocked to read this. But until we can all enjoy the same recognition of our love—regardless of our sexual orientation—I can’t possibly see marriage as an option anymore. And I know my daughter will understand. Perhaps one day, she’ll even get to attend her parents wedding.