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Robert Levithan

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At Last...

Posted: 05/23/2012 3:19 pm

"At last
My love has come along,
My lonely days are over,
And life is like a song."
--Etta James

Much to my surprise, I can no longer say that I don't want to get married.

I heard Etta James' tribute to long-yearned-for love as the opening moment of the first legally binding gay male union that I have had the honor of attending (in New York). It was a beautiful ceremony: personal, creative, and inclusive. It pushed open a door that I hadn't even known existed.

I have waited a log time to come around to marriage. I always thought that not having to get married was one of the benefits of being gay. Now that I can, I find myself challenged to imagine myself committing to another man without limits, in the full light of public knowledge. What was once unthinkable is now becoming commonplace. As Senator Schumer said about NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn's wedding as a symbol of gay-marriage acceptance, it is no longer a question of "if" but "when" it becomes a universally adopted part of the American way of life.

I have never imagined living fully within the fabric of my community, my society. The rebel in me resists giving up my outlaw status. If my sex life and my relationship are legal, I am much closer to living in the mainstream. I wish that marijuana would be legalized, so I could truly embrace living within the law. (Wait, my Segway would have to be legalized, too!)

Along with my desire for a life partner, I have discovered anew my hunger for Spirit, a connection with that force bigger than the human mind, perhaps the ultimate embodiment of love. I can live without a spouse, but operating out of Spirit's context is deprivation for my soul. Fortunately, I have found new dimensions of spiritual practice -- and also a man who just might be my "At Last."

The man who has the potential to make me a law-abiding, married citizen in good standing also shares a love of Spirit, and of activism, and of exploring the boundaries of societal and personal freedom. When we met, we recognized each other -- we have business in this lifetime. What that is is still to be determined. As a couple, we could shake up a number of folk: He's half my age, African-American, an out gay minister. We are both HIV-positive and out about that, as well. If we were to ever be married, well, there goes the neighborhood...

The relationship is in its early stages. I am courting him. Perhaps a suitable, retro-introduction to love for two men in this new age of gay marriage. We'll see...

I feel that I have regained a piece of myself, that society's withholding of my right to marry was a robbery of my right to a fully honored place at the table. However, there are still impediments: DOMA must be overturned, and minds must be wooed or we will simply wait until much of the prejudice dies out with the oldest generation. Although I may not need to use these privileges, I would like to have access to them in my lifetime. I am becoming impatient.

 
 
 

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