Two theater friends of mine got married last week. They’re both men. Two family friends of mine got married the week before that. They’re both women. Both weddings were attended by raucous groups of well-wishing, rice-throwing, open bar-loving friends and family who were thrilled that their [insert relation here] was getting married to someone he or she loves.
I wrote an article recently for Sacramento magazine about sweet engagement stories from seven Sacramento couples. Two of those couples are gay men; another, lesbian women. All seven of these stories were joyful, quirky and touching, ranging from the silly to the romantic to the downright well-planned.
Only something stuck out to me about the three stories of the homosexual couples, an underlying commonality that struck me to my core. One of the men described getting engaged as “kind of anticlimactic—it felt somMagazine ewhat strange to wait for government sanctioning to recognize our relationship.” One of the women said that she and her partner “ruled out the traditional engagement/marriage route” at first due to California’s law against same-sex marriage. They got married in 2010 when, for a brief moment, their union was legal—in the midst of Prop 8’s on-again-off-again ban on marriage for like-minded, same-sex couples.
A current of wariness runs through these narratives, a fear, a heavy knowing that such a big life milestone like getting married could slip out of their grasp because people they don’t even know decided that the idea of them being together wasn’t “right.” Lucky for these long-time couples—and those who joined their ranks just last week—their stories turned out well: rings were exchanged, wedding bells rang and now each couple has the legal right to be at the others’ bedside when those “in sickness and in health” vows come into play.
But what I want to know is why did they have to have any fear? Getting married is scary enough without worrying that it will be nullified by an archaic court or that people disapprove of the notion of your happiness. Thirty-one states now recognize same-sex marriage (see the full list at freedomtomarry.org), but why should equal rights have to be “recognized” at all? Everyone deserves someone to have and to hold, regardless of gender. Everyone deserves the right to choose whom they love and cherish—and marry.
Everyone deserves a happily every after.