Saturday, June 27, 2015

#loveislove

pretend wedding
let's play wedding!
If I recall, this blog started as an ode to the ludicrous fact that I did not have the right to marry the woman I love, and who loves me, fully and unconditionally (in spite of all my faults - of which there are many). Going through the process of planning and having a wedding as a gay couple was quite the adventure with a surplus of comical moments, to say the least...

Along with those ridiculous moments, however, was a very real undercurrent of fighting to feel legitimate, to have a wedding that wasn't just playing pretend. A sad reality accompanied the satirical commentary of my posts on the ignorance and oversight of so many... we truly were planning a wedding that had no legal basis. It was 100% symbolic. I remember having moments of utter panic and anxiety when it would hit me that I was essentially just planning an over-sized party for 50+ of our closest friends and family... but calling it a "wedding" like I was 7 years old again playing pretend with my other little 7 year old friends (although, confession, we never played pretend wedding... we played pretend "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman" and other really elaborate - and empowering - scenarios). Would people really come? What if they gave us presents? Could we (should we) accept them? Up until the day of I was never really sure if it was going to feel real for me, or anyone there...

In the spring of 2013, just a few short months before the big day o' nuptials was planned, the state of Colorado legalized civil unions between same-sex couples, going into effect on the best day of the year (May 1st), meaning that suddenly our wedding had a smidge more "realness" to it. No, being "civil unioned" with my lady was not what I would dream for myself, for my children, or anyone else. Settling for the "rights" of a second class citizen is not what most people hope for themselves and those they love - am I right? But hey, we got sign some papers and feel official, that was something, right? When lacking basic civil rights, you learn to take what you can get (something I, as white person, understand minimally in comparison to many in this country).

civil union
So, we were "civil unioned" on June 23, 2013. That was more than same-sex couples in many states could even hope for at the time. We called it a wedding. We called it marriage. It was our wedding, and our anniversary will always be June 23 (hint hint mom, set a reminder for next year... kisses!). And, of course, the day was absolutely magical - yes, MAGICAL - and one of the best days (and parties) of my life.

Then, surprise, surprise, last fall, thanks to some brave (and likely wealthy) gay couples who challenged the state of Colorado's definition of marriage (and won) - the clerks in several counties started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples ignoring the still ongoing legal proceedings. Shortly after, however, the Supreme Court helped a girl out, and refused to hear cases challenging the defintion of marriage in several states, which, by default, upheld the lower court rulings - meaning same sex marriage was now legal in Colorado as of October 7, 2014.

we were only feeding 3 people.
don't judge.
Just a few days before that landmark day in Colorado the wifey and I had finally received the incredible news we'd been hoping, wishing, and praying for with all our hearts - I was pregnant. Within days of finding out we were going to have a little one, finally, we were given the piece of mind that our child would enter into a world that recognized their parents as humans deserving of basic civil rights (at least in the state they called home). On May 1, 2014 (also known as my 30th birthday) we were legally married (in our kitchen) - a marriage that was recognized by both the state we live in and the country we live in (and we got the paperwork filed just days before the girls made their surprise arrival - phew!).  There were A LOT of pancakes involved.

However, when I woke up yesterday morning, my marriage was not "recognized" (aka... not valid, not real, not legal, not equal, non-existent, etc.) in the state I still call home. I think the mitten state is pretty much the greatest place on earth - the bees knees if you will (minus some nasty gloomy winter months), but when I "go home," my wifey goes back to being "my lady" in the eyes of the law (certainly not in the eyes of my incredible family that we go home to see)... which makes home feel a little less like home. Home, to me, is a place where you are loved and valued for who you are, and who you love doesn't change that.

Yesterday, that changed. Yesterday, the lovely resident bad-asses on the Supreme Court ensured that every person in this country can marry the person that they love - because love is love. As the decision stated and as was reported by so many yesterday and today, how ridiculous is it that we, as a country, would make a group of people beg and plead to have the right to legally enter into a monogamous, loving, stable institution and commitment (while straight paper all over this fine land spit in its face and make a mockery of it on a daily basis - but I digress...)?!

We (the wifey, thing one, and thing two) were watching CNN as the verdict came in (these days, the wifey and I watch a lot of CNN), and saw the historic event play out live on the steps of the highest court in our country. The wifey started crying - in her mid forties, she never thought this day would come in her lifetime. I, on the other hand, was underwhelmed - and felt guilty for it. I sat there on the couch, feeding my two amazing girls, already legally married, not fully grasping the moment.

Of course, I knew social media would be blowing up in no time, and I tuned in, eager to see the reactions that would, no doubt, be plastering my newsfeeds in numbers as plenty as dropped commas in a high school term paper.

twins
<3
As I soaked up the joy and celebration of my gay and straight friends alike, the moment sunk in. I began to grasp the largeness of the moment as my wife tearfully hugged our two baby girls (lovingly referred to above as thing one and thing two) and talked about how they would never know a world where their mommas' love wasn't valued and recognized as real, as legitimate, as just as true and unconditional as a man and woman's. That's pretty damn amazing. In fact, it is downright f-ing awesome.
A throwback from a post from May 2012

Our daughters will never know the phrase "gay marriage," our marriage will just be marriage to them, as it should be. While I don't believe in saying thank you for granting me a basic civil right... thank you, SCOTUS (some of you, anyway), for making this my daughters' reality.

We have a long, long way to go in this country when it comes to race, class, gender, ability, and sexual orientation, but here's to this victory. Keep 'em coming.
"The dynamic of our constitutional system is that individuals need not await legislative action before asserting a fundamental right."
"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."  
Obergefell v. Hodges