Why Get Married?

P8100024-1-2reducedJody and I are asked that question. Maybe we were asked that because we were married 12 years ago in our backyard. And that person thought that celebration was perfectly fine so why do it again?

The question made me stop and think. Why was getting married on August 10, 2014 important to me?

A myriad of reasons.

The most significant is that getting married made me feel legitimate.

Regardless of your political leanings my not being able to be married as a same sex couple and having the same lawful standing as my heterosexual neighbors is as close as I can get to how illegal immigrants in our country must feel.

You always stay a little hidden. A little under the radar. Don’t make waves. Someone might not like your relationship, your family and you will be discriminated against.

Discrimination is undeniable.

P8100031-1reducedToday I feel seen. I feel valid. I feel rightful. I have a partner. And her name is Jody.

This blog isn’t a political rant. Jody and I aren’t activists. We’ve quietly lived our lives as a couple on our cul-de-sac, with the same ups and downs, the same challenges as all couples. We have two children. We worry about them as you do yours.

Often we’ve had our children’s friends and parents over to our house to show how normal we are. Antonio was in Scouts and I was a den leader; Crystel in Scouts and Jody a troop leader. Antonio in soccer. Crystel in dance. All of us active in Tae Kwon Do.

Being a Police Reserve Officer I always hoped that ‘badge’ carried a little bit of weight when we were being sized up as a different kind of family.

P8100034-1reducedI hoped people saw us as safe even though we were a same sex family.

Jody and I never thought that same sex marriage would be legal in our lifetime. And, I’m not sure that either of us cared. We were going to do what was right for us and protect ourselves by having a will, power of attorney, assigned beneficiaries, second parent adoption, and the same last name.

12 years ago, August 10, 2002 flowers had opened to their utmost bloom and spread their green leaves their widest. Bees darted for nectar, dragonflies with iridescent wings dropped to the swimming pool for a quick drink. Butterflies watched from the fringes of the yard.

P8100020-1reducedMy wedding dress was sky blue, sleeveless, floor length, with a swoop back. It brought out the blue in my eyes and matched my toenails. Jody’s dress had the same design, and was champagne.

P8100021-1reducedMy niece, Jenny, was our flower girl, laying rose petals along the pool where we walked to the gazebo for the ceremony. Barefoot, we felt the softness of the roses.

Aunt Jo, my mother’s sister, an ordained minister, performed the Holy Union ceremony.

75 friends and relatives surrounded us while I told Jody, “I take you as my life companion. I pledge to share my life openly with you – to speak the truth to you in love. I promise to honor and tenderly care for you – to cherish and encourage you – through all the changes of our lives.”

And she, in turn, said the same to me.

155999_10204865713428150_1746575820117958063_n[1]12 years later, August 10, 2014 we did it again.

But this time 150 friends and relatives surrounded us, our lives having grown twice as large because of our children and because we ourselves had grown.

Crystel was our flower girl and best lady. Antonio our best man.

Our Officiant was Minister, Judie Mattison. Butterflies and dragonflies once again danced among the attendees.

And when “All of Me” by John Legend played and the words, Love your curves and all your edges All your perfect imperfections Give your all to me I’ll give my all to you, Jody and I held hands, rotated in the gazebo and slowly turned to face all of you- – –

P8100136-1reducedMy mother-in-law, sisters and brother in laws, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, fellow writers, Tae Kwon Do peeps, school and work friends, friends from long ago, and next door neighbors.

Then right before the ceremony ended we rotated once more and breathed in your good wishes and blessings to the music of Gloria Estefan. If I could reach, higher Just for one moment touch the sky  From that one moment In my life I’m gonna be stronger Know that I’ve tried my Very best I’d put my spirit to the test …

and we came out of hiding.

 

 

 

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“Your Moms Can Get Married Now.”

Dsc00218I imagine someone at school saying that to Antonio and Crystel and them responding, “Huh?”

As far as they are concerned, we are already married, and Crystel, much to her chagrin, wasn’t a part of the wedding that we had before she and Antonio came home from Guatemala. She can hardly believe that we had a life before them.

Our wedding was 11 years ago this August. Some folks would ask us, “Is it legal?”

It was to us. Still we had our personal wills drawn up. We weren’t leaving our children, our money, or our belongings to chance.

Jody and I aren’t political or activists. We live our life the best that we can and hope that people will figure out that we are pretty normal. I think we have the neighbors convinced. We hold the yearly Neighborhood Night Out gathering in our backyard. We have come to think of them as normal, too. That’s what sharing a pan of brownies will do.

DSC00234On May 13, 2013, I got a text from Jody saying, “It passed.” I was confused and sent a text back, saying, “What passed?”

A kidney stone, a car, a semi, what??? It took an hour before it came to me.

Since she was the one who asked me to marry her eleven years ago, I figured I better man up.

I sent her a text, “Will you marry me? August 10, 2014?”

Aunt Jo, Our Unity Minister.

Aunt Jo, Our Unity Minister.

I didn’t hear from her for a while and wondered if she was re-evaluating our relationship.

But then came the “Yes!”

Later with Antonio and Crystel around the dining room table, I said, “You know a law passed and your moms can get married now.”

Antonio said, “Yeah, I know what that is. It’s the … what’s that called … same …” He was stumbling on the word “sex” and I came to his rescue. “That’s right,” I said. “It means two moms and two dads can get married.”

“I asked Mama Jody to marry me and what do you think she said?”

Crystel laughed leaned conspiratorially over to Jody and said, “She said, “No.” If drama is to be had, Crystel is there.

married

married

“No, I did not,” Jody said, “I said “Yes.” Crystel you can be our flower girl. You always wanted to be a flower girl in a wedding.”

“Oh, no,” I said. “She and Antonio will have to give us away.”

In one year, twelve years from the date of our first wedding, we will be married again. This gives us plenty of time to work out the details. Save the date.