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Tom Bartolomei Headshot

Marriage Equality: Still Complicated

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I will admit that it has taken me years to admit that Columbus, Ohio, is my home. I can't really say why that is. I think there was a part of me that felt that if I allowed myself to call Columbus home, I would be betraying my family in New Jersey. Or maybe it was that I'm a stubborn person who needs a long time to accept things. Who knows?

When it comes right down to it, Columbus is a pretty great place to live, and there is nothing wrong with calling two states home. I actually think I'm pretty lucky to have two home states. The only problem I have now is that one of my home states is on the right side of history, and the other is on the wrong side of history.

Yes, New Jersey is set to begin recognizing gay marriages come Oct. 21, though Gov. Chris Christie is fighting the decision. I have no doubt that he will lose and New Jersey will become the 14th state to recognize marriage equality. This is something that excites me, but at the same time it upsets me that Gov. Christie feels that the right thing to do is fight the decision. In Gov. Christie's opinion, the rights of minorities should be voted on by the majority. This is something I will never understand. Thankfully, if for some reason Gov. Christie wins this battle, he will lose when the issue is presented to the voters, because the latest polls show that the majority of New Jersey citizens are in favor of marriage equality.

I'm also upset because, unfortunately, marriage equality is still not recognized by my adopted home state of Ohio. It is something that we are fighting for, and I hope it is recognized sooner rather than later. There are many times that I feel torn between my two home states, and this is definitely one of those times.

This situation complicates my decision regarding what to do about proposing to Jeff. Up until last Friday, the question was whether to wait for Ohio to recognize marriage equality or go to New York to get married. Now there is another option: Do I go to New Jersey to get married? As much as I would like to get married in Ohio, so that we can share this experience with our family and friends, I'm so torn. I would love to get married in New Jersey and share it will family and friends there too. Who would have thought that getting married would be so damn complicated?! Oh, right, it's complicated because state governments have chosen to make it complicated for same-sex couples.

It is an exciting time that we are living in, but for someone like me who calls two different states home, it can be frustrating. If I'd been born straight, getting married would be easier. I wouldn't have to decide which state to get married in and what the ramifications of marrying in that state might be. This is yet another reason that marriage equality should be recognized by all 50 states. I deserve the same ease of getting married as everyone else, and please do not tell me, "Just marry a woman." I wasn't born attracted to women, and that shouldn't matter when it comes to having the right to get married.