Marry, Marry Month of May

May 16, 2008

The news reports that the California Supreme Court has overturned the state’s ban on gay marriage. Assuming there is no stay or delay, in thirty days same-sex couples will be allowed to marry in the Golden State. That will hit on June 15, the height of Gay Pride Month, culminating in the end-of-the-month celebrations and, no doubt, many nuptials in San Francisco and West Hollywood.

Meanwhile, back here in Houston, life will go on as usual. Yes, we will have the nation’s largest night Gay Pride Parade: It’s too hot and humid here to parade in the daytime in Summer. Thousands of people will turn out, lining Westheimer near Montrose. The bars will be packed that night, and also the baths. And life will go on, the day after, the week after, the month after.

To be honest, I feel mixed opinions when I think of this. On the one hand, it seems very special that same-sex couples can marry in Massachusetts now, and soon in California. What a sign of progress. Even if they can’t file joint Federal tax returns or claim surviving-spouse Social Security benefits. Yet, part of me wonders if we’re really celebrating the wrong victory, and maybe even fighting the wrong fight,

In my heart of hearts, I think that marriage is something defined by one’s personal beliefs, influenced by culture, religion, upbringing, and many other factors. Society has imposed the opposite-sex-two-person model on the state, but that doesn’t have to be. Who really cares what arrangements consenting adults make between themselves in their own household?

Some of of us here in Texas are polygamists, as has been widely reported of late. Without countenancing the cult-like aspects of the FLDS or the “spiritual marriages” of underage girls, does it really matter how many life-partners someone has, or what sex they are? After all, if a man is married to three or four or even twenty women, doesn’t that mean that all those women are somehow married to each other, too?

Maybe what I’m getting at is that the government should simply get out of the marriage business entirely. Leave that up to the churches, and to the conscience of the individual. Yes, let’s have legally recognized domestic partnerships for any couple who wants it – but leave the moral judgments, endorsements, and yes, the word, “marriage” to whoever wants it, by whatever definition they choose.

Having said all that, I know that “marriage” is such a powerful word. Today I took Freddie to the airport for a flight to visit a friend in Dallas for the weekend. He mentioned that our next flight would probably be together, to San Diego when his niece graduates from college. We attended her high school graduation, and we have a long-standing commitment to be there for her next big moment. It occurred to me, well, if it’s still legal for us to marry in California when we’re there, we could get married. Should we? Shouldn’t we? It would have no standing in Texas, but could it somehow screw up Freddie’s Medicaid coverage? Should we care? Does it matter? Is it something that we want, anyhow?

I didn’t mention it. He was thinking about his trip, dealing with the check-in (weird self-service terminals) and the security, and being away. He half didn’t want to go, didn’t want to be away from me. We’re in a routine, we support each other, it’s hard to be apart… But I let him go.

Another time, we’ll think about it. For now, it makes no difference to who we are or how we live,

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