A month ago, I did something I thought I'd never do: get married.
Here is a picture from the ceremony:
That's Barb, on the left, then me, then Mother Nancy Ferriani of Trinity Episcopal. (Trinity is Barb's spiritual home, and they're very cool peeps. Mother Nancy kicks ass.) We had a priest, an exchange of rings, we are married.
Except, not really. We have no legal marriage certificate, and even though we got married in a church (REALLY something I thought I'd never do), technically, the church called it a "blessing of our union" and not a marriage. All because the person I fell in love with, and want to spend the rest of my life with, happens to also be a woman.
Back when I was a straight girl (that's a long story that I'll leave for another post--let's just say I'm a recent "recruit"), marriage didn't seem so important. Aside from finding feminism at a very early age, I also witnessed my parents' very long and drawn out divorce. So marriage wasn't something I was building my life toward: what's with the princess fantasy, what's with the patriarchy, what's in a label, what does a piece of paper mean?
But now, suddenly, perhaps only because I can't have one, that piece of paper seems pretty damned important.
Bil was asking shortly after the wedding:
"What did it feel like? Did it make you angry that you couldn't get married? Any jealousy that it was "just" a commitment ceremony? Does it matter if it's marriage or were you just as happy as you could have possibly been if they'd called it something different? Did the name matter?"
What did it feel like? Yeah, I was angry I couldn't get married, and I was angry that I felt under attack for wanting to get married.
Barb and I never stray from calling it a wedding, a marriage. Which led to some complications. After all, we were choosing our caterer, baker, photographer, etc, as the legislature was debating SJR 7. It was particularly galling to listen to all the fundie crap as we planned (though it was nice to know that Trinity's senior pastor, Father Tom, testified against SJR 7 in the Senate Judiciary committee hearing), and this G-spot post from April was like a punch in the stomach. I get her point about not buying into wedding-industry crap (believe me, we spent nowhere near the national average of $28,000 for our wedding day--which is pretty atrocious), but I don't agree about the access to legal rights--I want those 1300 legal rights and protections--and I am currently intimidated by the 20+ pages of paperwork the attorney sent for us to fill out before we go to her office for our initial consulation.
I'll also say that as a writer, words mean a lot to me. For me, nothing is "just a question of semantics." I consider myself Married. As Barb reminds me, "we'll be together--FOR-EV-ER."
Barb also comments that:
It was an emotional roller-coaster. We got so many well-wishes and congratulations, as well as different family members refusing to attend for various reasons--my mother, with whom I have a very tenuous relationship, first said that she didn't know if she could find a hotel room. Then she claimed it was because she was raised Jehovah's Witness, which is the first I'd ever heard it--but it would explain why I never got birthday or Christmas presents...
I was excited and wanted to tell the world--it was very stressful and exhausting to feel like I had to pick and choose who I'd tell because it inevitably meant having to come out to them. Not that I have a problem coming out--I just don't want to have to do it on a daily basis! It's exhausting having to deal with everyone else's heterosexism--one co-worker asked me--"heard you got married--what's his name?" Jen. "...is that his last name?" Sigh.
I didn't have to deal with that--most of my co-workers had already met (and grown to love) Barb, but yeah, there were several members of my family who refused to show up just because Barb doesn't have a penis. Oh, they said it was because of "religion"--despite the fact that we were married in a parish that was completely supportive--or "family values"--despite the fact that so many other family members came. Barb's favorite new relative is my 80-something year-old great-aunt, who gave us a "lovebirds" figurine, and told Barb we should kiss often, making appropriate kissy-faces at her all day. We don't have a problem there.
We want to thank all of our family and friends who did come, who've been so supportive and wonderful--despite what the fundies say, we are married in their eyes--and more importantly, in our own. Love does make a family.
Photos by Natalie Evans