Annette Gross

Reflections from my anniversary

Filed By Annette Gross | July 07, 2008 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement

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.

Instead of the perceived demise of the institution of marriage as these GLBT couples state their vows, I see in these committed relationships the potential for the strengthening of marriage. When people are denied something that is inherently their right, I would think they would work harder to enjoy and reap the benefits of that particular institution. The result is a more profound respect for that which is denied and which they have won through hard work and perseverance.

I know that it took me longer than usual for my husband and I to finally share our wedding vows with one another. Despite the occasional difficulties and little arguments throughout our 37 years together, we respect each other and we respect the marriage we entered into. I hope that the newly married GLBT couples bring the same respect and devotion to the vows they utter to each other. I also hope that heterosexual couples realize that what they take for granted is a wonderful new chapter in the lives of the GLBT community around them and can only strengthen what many couples already enjoy.

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