My partner and I are trying to decide when we should get married. We have a Domestic Partnership from Washington State, so we have some basic protections at the state level. Our home state of Iowa opened the door to full equality last April. We happened to be in Iowa at the time because my new nephew was born a about a week before.
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled on the last day of our trip, so we picked up the paper work to get a marriage license on our way to the airport. It is notarized and ready to go. The ruling was so new, we had to decide who was going to be husband and who was going to be wife. There was not a gender neutral application available. I put my partner's name as wife while he wasn't looking.
We are so used to our rights being taken away that I wanted to hurry home and tie the knot as fast as possible. We planned to return to Iowa last summer to marry, but some family members still needed a chance to realize they weren't going to hell, just a wedding.
We decided to give those family members a year to get used to the idea. Iowa's constitution makes it very difficult to hurt people. It would take 3 sequential sessions to approve a constitutional amendment before finally sending it to voters. So far the Democratic majority in Iowa has refused to move on the amendment. The Republican Party is doing their best to move one forward. Fortunately their best isn't very good.
So we have time. It isn't an emergency like in some states where if you didn't get married during a 6 week window, you're screwed. You know, like California.
We're talking about doing it this Summer with or without the reluctant family. We're talking about eloping, or having a big party, or having a small party, or just going to the court house, or going to a church....
But then when we think about it, we're reminded that most of our friends and lots of our family live here in Seattle. I can give you a list of beautiful places I would love to get married -- places that really exemplify who we are as a couple, like the Seattle Zen Garden, or on the shores of Puget Sound, or in a remote cabin amongst old growth forest. These all sound great to me, but to get married in Washington we have to wait. We're still in that separate but un-equal stage of history here. Don't get me wrong, it's better than nothing and I fought my ass off to help get us this far. It is just not enough, though.
Who knows when Washington will be ready to approve my marriage rights? We're close, but not there yet. We still need a few percentage points before we should push a bill through. We still need to talk to our friends, families, neighbors, and so on and remind them how desperately we need their help. We need to wait.
He and I could go back to Iowa at any moment and get married. We could do that now. But when we came home, Washington would not recognize it as a marriage at all. If I told someone that I'm married to Joe, they would probably think the same thing I do. "No you're not. You're committed to each other, but you're not married until the state and the country recognize it."
I know that will piss some people off, but that's what I think. I think it automatically when a gay couple says that in a state that does not recognize it. I don't think it is healthy to fool ourselves -- to say we're married when we're not.
So we could go home to Iowa and get married, but then we'd come back to Washington and not be married. What's the point? The party or not party? The gifts? The bullshit congratulations from people who know we're second class citizens? Honestly, I don't know if I could stand it, I really don't.
At the same time I know it will make my partner happy to move forward, and I would love to move forward. I would marry him today, right now, if I could. But I want it for real. I don't want to have to hopscotch across this country skipping states that don't recognize our relationship. I don't want to check single on my taxes. I don't want to choose Domestic Partner on my insurance forms because I live in a state that isn't ready to call our relationship marriage. I want full equality and I want it now.
But I guess I have to wait until you're ready, Washington. Don't I? Well I'm ready when you are.