Reflecting on Washington State’s recent marriage law, Eric Andrews-Katz writes about the absurd position of longtime gay committed couples (“Marriage: 4th Time The Charm, Bold Strokes Books Authors’ Blog).
His story really resonated with me. Like Andrews-Katz, me and my partner got “married” in a commitment ceremony, many years before any state recognized the legal status of gay couples (2001). Our union was solemnized by the atheist leader of our local Ethical Humanist society.
Though the ceremony conferred no rights, that first marriage held much more meaning for us than our subsequent legal wedding at a New York City clerk’s office. When friends and colleagues ask me, doe-eyed and with enormous grins, “What was it like to finally get married?” I tell them: “It was kind of like applying for food stamps.”
That’s not to say that getting a marriage certificate hasn’t changed our relationship in positive ways. It was a re-commitment to our relationship. It allowed us–with greater certainty and pride–to check off that married box on government and work-related forms. We got a frame for our marriage certificate and hung it up in our bedroom.
But our 2001 commitment ceremony will always be the day we remember. It was the day of jitters: “Are we really doing this?” The day of tears. The day of dancing with friends and drinking champagne in a limo. The best day of our lives.
I guess it’s a generational thing, and I think it’s great that younger gay couples can now go through all of that in one, fully legalized fanfare.
It’s about frickin’ time. And Andrews-Katz tells a wonderful, personal story on the subject.