Don't throw up! I know it can be really pleasing or really gross to hear (read) how in love people are. So if you think you may be grossed out by this post, stop reading now.
In a way it's hard to write this post & remember that legally, my spouse & I are technically not married under the laws eyes. It hurts to think about. My heart actually feels the unfairness of ignorance & misunderstanding. Regardless of the lack of adherence to the U.S. Constitution by most states, it doesn't take away from what is in our hearts & the bond my spouse & I share. And at least we some legal protections. Some being the key word.
In March of 2008 my partner & I became domestically partnered. We had had to wait until a legal mess untangled & Oregon allowed same sex couples to have state protections. Once that happened we decided to wait until the planet Mercury was out of retrograde (seriously!).
It was a regular spring afternoon in Portland. This means it was chilly & raining. My love's birthday was a mere 6 days away but she didn't care that our DP anniversary would be so close to her own special day. We knew which forms of ID to have with us, how much money was required and what other documents might be needed. We also knew that getting DP'd meant if we ever decided to dissolve our union, we'd have to pay money to do that and by law we would be responsible for certain things. We'd be responsible for one another in life and in death. We knew by entering into this legal contract, our commitment to each other was of great importance, serious and binding.
Walking into the Multnomah County clerks office couldn't have been less romantic. It was busy with hustle & bustle that tends to occur in government buildings. The county clerks building has many departments that have no relation whatsoever to marriage licences & domestic partnerships. The picture I'm trying to paint here is that there was no sense of sacredness or romance in the general atmosphere that surrounded us. For a moment we wondered if we were even in the right place because this would be closest we'd get to ceremonial legality and the environment seemed so... businesslike.
Hand in hand, with enough love, sensuality & spirit to make up for any lack of ideal circumstances, we waited for the next available clerk to assist us. We were given papers to fill out & directions on what to do next. This meant we next had to leave the building to go find a notary public, get our forms notarized (which involved going to a Bank of America where we were told to wait by a very cranky teller, which gave us the I'm not feelin' it feeling. So then we went to Wells Fargo where the teller was really excited & proceeded to tell us about every single queer person she knew or ever heard of) and come back to the clerks office. As stated before, not ideal, but we were excited as hell just the same.
We signed our forms with hearts beating in full and received a certificate that we could fill in later along with a receipt & copies of our super-official forms. Hand in hand, with enough love, sensuality & spirit we were in a legal domestic partnership. We celebrated with mini-cheeseburgers at a too hip bowling alley.
That day was a tremendous step toward utter devotion toward one another. It was also our way of saying to ourselves, each other & our friends and family that we love & are dedicated to the other person in a very deep and long term way.
Our rainy March day was not the day it hit me that I was indeed, hitched. It came a couple months later, after a fight about something petty like whose turn it was to buy cheese or take out the garbage or do the dishes. It was barely a fight really, more like a tiff or a verbal mutual growl. Suddenly it occurred to me that no matter how much one of us may annoy the other, we were in this for the long haul, so being mad was rather pointless. One way or another whatever issue may bubble up between us, I not only knew but deeply felt, that we would always work it out. It was a sense of safety I have never known before, and that safety I was happy to give to her.
From that realization was an easy get comfortable with having a "married lifestyle." It's funny really because what some folks may deem a "gay lifestyle" our lives together couldn't be more settled and regular. We work hard, we pay bills, we take care of our babies (pets), we agree, we disagree, we make love, we watch TV, we write Christmas cards together, we laugh, we cry and we have to put in certain kinds of effort to make she & I an us. Our friends are queer & straight, monogamous and single, happy & unhappy. We are just regular folks trying to live in a balanced way and take care of business. We do this together and our "regularness" is part of what we enjoy about our union.
I wish our equality could exist in law as it does in our hearts. We know we are married not just because we fell into love. We know we are married because we vowed to one another & on paper to protect each other in every way possible, making the other person's life as important and sacred as our own. That means a lot. And it feels damn good!