Not having many friends in the world, and almost no living biological family, the few I have mean a lot.  Last week someone, who I love very much, my day to day coworker, told me she got married in Vegas over the weekend.  She's a sweet. loving, wonderful person, sincere, caring, and almost relentlessly cheerful.  Having her around makes my life so much better.  I love her as much as any family member.

*

It was interesting.  I knew she was dating, but she dates around a lot.  No one in particular.  Working together, we spend 8 to 10 hours together, mainly focused on work.  Some personal talk, but it's hectic and we deal with a lot of people, and the personal details leak out slowly over time.  I knew she was headed to Vegas, and was going with a friend.  She said she didn't plan to get married, had no idea she was going to.  But she was tired of dating around, and so while they were having fun in Vegas, they tied the knot.  My friend is in her late 40s, independent minded, strong willed, dependable, sweet, and has been single for a decade.

*

Now, her family is feeling cheated, and wants big get togethers and celebration.  She's been complaining about the adjustment to sudden married life, having to share in decisions.  The sudden celebratory attention that people are giving her - some including facebook friends who she hasn't seen in months, possibly years.  Coworkers are buzzing with happiness and cheerful gossip.  The place is atwitter with joy.  Her sex life, of course, has also been "legitimized".

*

About 5 years ago, the state of Oregon opened up marriage equality to same sex couples.  That was due to a creative legal interpretation of the state constitution, and a misinformed concept of "equality".  My partner and I, together at the time about 11 years, stood for hours in the rain, in a long line that extended for blocks, to officially get married.  We were Washington, not Oregon, residents.  At least we would be married someplace.  There were hundreds of other couples.  We stood before strangers as witnesses.  We had a "new age" type preacher marry us.  A photo was taken.  I guess there was no option for 100% secular.  We ate something bad while in that line.  We got food poisoning.  Both of us threw up for hours afterwards.  This was our day off - we didn't miss work.  Marriage at least establishes intent.  Marriage gives some basis for a some legal protections, even if not recognized in your own state.  I was somewhat leery about "announcing" my marriage at work, by did let a few coworkers know.  They were, well, "nice" about it.

*

Within a few months, the good people of nearly godlessly liberal, formerly hippie infested, California diaspora state Oregon, shocked that LGBT people not only like to have wild, sick, disgusting, perverted, sex with each other, but actually have stable loving dependable mutually supporting reliable caring extended lifelong committed relationships and families, voted against the atrocity of marriage equality, nullified our marriage, and we were sent a refund.

*

Before this partner, in what I call my "previous life", in the late 80s, I sat by my partners' side while he breathed his last breath, dying after 2 years of inexorable, undignified, horrible decline.  His dysfunctional family got to take his tortured, embalmed, made-up body back to South Carolina, they got the dog - who I had raised from puppy, the car, the house, the bank accounts, the family and social support, and all possessions.  I was not given the option to bill for the hours, day after day, month after month, that I provided care, food, comfort, access to resources, transportation, provisions, repairs....  and wound up homeless for a while.  I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps, have done well enough.  Very well by some accounts, with an amount of dedication and work that 99% of others would never be able to expend, or would consider.  I knew I had only myself to depend on.  I quit grieving after 4 years, and started on the path to a newer/new life in virtually all ways.  And here I am, and it's not bad.  Recovery changes a person, but is much better than the alternatives.  But still, if that partner and I were "married", the "character building" years would have been very, very different.  I defy anyone to say that a "legitimate" widow should be expected to go through the same experiences.  If you think so, you are a heartless, self serving, and probably hypocritical prick.

*

I congrat'ed my friend, and didn't say any of this.  Respecting her privacy, and never one to pry, I've never sought a clear answer to how her first marriage brought her from the Philippines to the US, but I'm fairly sure she was a mail order bride.  Nothing wrong with that - marriage can be many things to many people, and she and her prior husband would have entered into that deal with their eyes open, and most likely got what they wanted.  "Love" is not always the best reason to marry.  Even though I assert that my love for my partner is fuller and deeper than what is seen in many starry eyed hetero weddings.  Now, with my friend having married supposedly on whim, I celebrate her happiness as she goes through adjustment in her social status among friends, family, and colleagues.  I truly want the best for my beloved friend.  

*

And I keep quiet about how, with no rights, no recognition, no repayment for services rendered, no social status, no legal status, my own current 16 year partnership is unrecognized and not valid in the US, and my prior committed 4 year relationship was degraded by all concerned.

*

Fucking bigoted hypocritical country we live in.  The voters in my state will decide, in what promises to be a hair-splittingly close vote, about whether my partner and I are married.   How nice that people get to vote for my equality.   Fucking catholics are pouring millions into hate fueled, mind-numbing dishonest disinformation campaign.  Some people, of course, care so little they won't vote.  If my partner and I do turn out to be married (domestic partners will automatically convert to married if the law passes), there won't be an announcement, a wedding, cards, or a ceremony, but maybe we'll get new rings.  Maybe we'll go to the Indian Buffet, or Chino Saigon, which has great food.  I'll be glad.  Very much so.   But not counting on it.   Haven't talked about that because I don't want to get my hopes up.

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Comment by Sentient Biped on November 7, 2012 at 5:18pm

Thanks TFA.  WA still isn't called but looks that way.  It isn't over till the lady sings.  You are right, it means so much. 

It's a weird thing to think about, being married.  My partner and I are registered with the state.  If the marriage vote passes, which I think it does, we are automatically converted to "married". 

It's been a long fight.  A hard fight.  There is so much more to come.  But we should savor the incremental progress.  It's very nice.

Comment by The Flying Atheist on November 7, 2012 at 2:04pm

Well, Sentient......Congratulations To You!!  I'm elated at the outcome of the marriage vote.  This means so much to so many people. 

Comment by Sentient Biped on November 3, 2012 at 12:40pm

Thanks everyone.  Not a lot of places where I can express this.  We'll see what the voters say.  In multiple places.  

Comment by The Flying Atheist on November 3, 2012 at 12:17pm

You really have a wonderful way of rationally expressing the core issues of marriage equality.  I guess hurtful past self-experience causes wise and passionate oratory.  Of course, I'm hoping the vote goes our way on Tuesday.  I'll be thinking of you. 

Comment by dr kellie on November 3, 2012 at 10:50am

Great post.  Kind thoughts and best wishes, always. 

Comment by Steph S. on November 3, 2012 at 10:38am

Sentient thanks so much for sharing your story with us. I congrats you on your marriage with your partner. I wish it was legal to marry in all states. I hope that is coming soon. We do live in a bigoted country. I'm hoping that things will change and that we will be the source of that change. I think educating people is a good start. Planting the seed of freethought. Getting people to start asking questions.

I wish you the best. I honestly don't think marriage is any concern of the government. They should stay out of it. People shouldn't have to vote on this kind of thing. My thoughts are with you and yours.

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