When I first heard about marriage being offered to GLBT couples in California, I was so happy and relieved for this marginalized segment of society. I realized that they would finally be able to legally share their love and lives with each other and further enhance their relationships. I also thought about what the naysayers were spouting out - that this would mean the end of the institution of marriage as we know it in America. I also thought about my recent anniversary of 37 years.
I got married in 1971. At that time, it was basically prohibited in polite society for a young man and young woman to live together. Sure, I could have lived with my boyfriend, but both sets of parents would definitely have frowned upon that. I respected the institution of marriage as a way for us to be together. I saw my grandparent's 64-year-old marriage survive, as well as my parent's marriage stay intact. The one common denominator in the survival of these marriages was respect. My parents and grandparents respected the institution of marriage and the bonds that were legally created. They respected each other. I wanted to have that same bond in my life.