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This has been a landmark year for marriage equality and it has touched us very deeply. Just two years ago, when we were living in St. Paul we were among the many at the capitol pleading with our legislators not to allow a constitutional ban on same sex marriage to go to the popular vote.
But it did, and then, due to a job change, we ended up moving to Florida, a state not particularly known for it’s gay-friendly policies. Since we always considered Minnesota our home and figured we’d return there eventually, we didn’t give up and kept working from afar to include our family, friends and allies in the effort to get everyone on board with voting against this harmful amendment. And although it was tight, thanks to the hard work of many people, the amendment did not pass. What a relief! We were so happy that “our” state did not enshrine hate into the constitution.
And then, as fate would have it, another job transfer brought us to the Pacific Northwest and we landed in Seattle, WA, where in that very same election, the good people of the state voted to legalize same sex marriage. So, now for the first time in our lives, we were living in a state that would legally recognize our union. Huh, well we supposed we should probably get married then.
And so it came to us with surprise and excitement when, just a few months later, Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize marriage for same sex couples. I listened to almost the entire Senate debate with my stomach in knots, not knowing which way it would go. I cried tears of joy when the votes were tallied and the measure passed. Starting this August, “our Minnesota” would also provide the legal recognition of our union.
So, now what? We don’t live in Minnesota, we live in Washington. Do we get married in both states, just to be covered? We’re actually planning a trip to Minnesota at the end of August. Maybe we should just go get married then. But where’s the fan fare?
Here’s the problem: We already got married. No, excuse me, we had a ceremony, a wedding ceremony and a celebration with all of our closest friends and family, back in 2008. We had a minister. We declared our love. We exchanged vows and made a commitment to each other.
While Minnesota didn’t legally recognize it at the time, what mattered to us was that our community recognized us as a couple just as committed as our straight married friends.
Every day since that day, we have considered ourselves married. I changed my last name. We wear our wedding rings. We live the bliss, the good, the bad, and the ugly of married life, just like everyone else. What would getting legally married now say about our last five years? Would it make our time together any less important? Does it validate our relationship any more than it was in the eyes of our friends and family, especially the heterosexual ones? And what does it say about our friends who also had wedding ceremonies but don’t live in a marriage equality state? Are our marriages now different?
To make matters more complicated, we never know when we might have to move again. What if we move to another state that is not Minnesota or Washington and does not recognize our marriage? We’d be in no different situation than we are currently. We have a child that my wife had to adopt and another one on the way (any day now!) that will also need to be adopted. We still have pay for our legal documents like our wills and a healthcare directive to ensure we are protected because it’s too scary not to have them.
I love my wife with my whole heart. She is my soulmate and I would marry her again and again in every state and country if it made a difference. So maybe we will. Our five year anniversary is just a few weeks away. Wouldn’t that be a nice anniversary present? But I’m a planner and I’d want to do it right with a vow renewal or at least a big party. Or, true confession: an excuse to wear my gorgeous wedding dress one more time. But being nine months pregnant means I won’t be fitting into it any time soon, so maybe we do have a little time to plan…
This post is my contribution to Blogging for LGBT Families Day. Write your own and link it, or read what others have written. Thanks to Mombian for hosting! You can also tweet in support of LGBT families and use the hashtag #lgbtfamilies.