My friend Patti was sitting around the pool with her friends the other day when the issue of same-sex marriage came up. She explained that she thought we gays should be happy enough with civil unions now and tackle the whole marriage thing later, and then she asked what I thought about that. Aside from being tickled pink that Fifty Shades of Grey took a backseat to a discussion about my marriage, I didn't think too highly of it at all. If anything, I thought marriage might be fine for them but not nearly good enough for us.
Let me explain.
Marriage, like most politicians, has a "past." Oh, it may put up a good front now, but you don't need to go rooting too far back before finding a whole list of transgressions: marriage as ownership, marriage as the right to own multiple wives, marriage granted to only the upper class, and what about prearranged marriages? If that is traditional marriage, my husband Paul and I want no part of it. He may own my heart, but that is because I gave it to him; it was not sold.
I never tell Paul to get in that kitchen and make me a sandwich, and he never tells me my job is to take out the trash. He might make me a sandwich because he loves me, and I might take out the trash because I want to, but it is not a gender-specific role. Confession: I may have fibbed there a little. I never really want to take out the trash, but that doesn't make my point any less valid. We recognize each other as equals in this thing, something opposite-sex marriages are still struggling with.
And before Eliza comments below, in uppercase letters so that people can hear her, "BUT THE PIECES DON'T FIT TOGETHER, GAY 'MARRIAGES' CAN'T MAKE BABIES," I'd like to say: My goodness, it seems that so many straight people are preoccupied with sex! I didn't marry Paul because I wanted to have sex with him. That is just a happy byproduct of our love for each other. And as far as the pieces fitting together, my hand fits perfectly in his, and there is this spot on his shoulder where my head has found a most excellent resting place. Maybe it's time you started thinking outside the box, Eliza, so to speak.
No, Paul will never get me pregnant, or I him. But rest assured, any child blessed to be in a same-sex family is there because he or she was wanted, planned for, and loved. The horrid word "accident" will never be used by us to refer to a child. And if marriage is only for the production of children, someone needs to call off my 70-year-old Uncle Phil's wedding, pronto!
As far as communication goes, Paul and I do a pretty good job of it. Neither one of us had to take a crash course in Venusian or Martian. When we speak to each other, we're mostly sitting in the same room on planet Earth, speaking English.
So, if marriage is the best thing you've got, I suppose we're willing to invest a little sweat equity and turn it into a showcase, something that we can be proud of and that has some value. We have a long history of turning forgotten and downtrodden homes and neighborhoods into something beautiful, because we recognize that the bones of a place are what's important and that love is what makes a home. Just do us a favor: When we give you back the keys to your renovated marriage, take off your shoes before coming in. There's an awful lot of dirt on them.
William Dameron's personal blog is The Authentic Life.