April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, a Detroit couple suing the state of Michigan over its ban on gay adoption, have expanded their lawsuit to take on the state's marriage amendment. March 7, 2013, a judge could decide to overturn that ban.
I have a special interest in this case as I am from a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. I have been with my husband 20 years since our first date on March 13, 1993. Yes, I call him my husband because I religiously married him in 2000 in a reform synagogue by a gay rabbi with our entire family witnessing it and enjoying our day with us.
If you are reading this and your beliefs are religion doesn't accept gays -- you're wrong. Mine does. Reform Judaism acknowledges marriage for gays. I have a Ketubah to prove it.
I am so sick and tired of waiting for society to catch up to my life. I have never accepted the fact that I don't have the same rights as everyone else. I am from a generation of gay men -- especially in the Midwest -- who would say things to me like:
"Shhh, let's just be thankful that we get what we do get."
"It all takes time it can't be rushed."
"Just be okay with a 'civil union' at least it's something."
"We don't do public displays of affection so others aren't uncomfortable with us."
These statements are old and tired and they were back then too! It's only purpose is to please those who oppose gay rights. It doesn't please me.Thus it doesn't work for me. It puts me and my gay brothers and sisters at the back of the bus and it is wrong. I won't do it.
It angers me that a heterosexual couple can fly to Las Vegas and get legally married by an Elvis impersonator and then fly back to wherever they are from and still be legally married. If Mike and I decided to fly Vegas and get married by a Cher impersonator, it wouldn't be legal there nor back here in Michigan.
Sorry for the gay reference but when I get mad I speak "gay"!
I have had friends and family tell me to be patient and just enjoy the relationship and that marriage is just a piece of paper. No it isn't just a piece of paper -- it is a piece of mind and I do enjoy my relationship. I want to sleep -- with my husband -- at night knowing that if anything happens to either one of us that we are legally protected. I have had clients tell me that when they broke up with their partners, because there was no legal connection -- in other words they are not legal kin -- there was no case and they lost everything.
Even gay therapists have told me to be quiet and careful about how I write and talk about gay life -- particularly about gay men having open relationships because it will reflect badly on us. Reflect badly on us? Many straight people have open relationships and it doesn't reflect badly on them for being heterosexual. And sadly many of these couples cheat on each other rather than talk about having an open marriage. It is tiring to always trying to be politically correct and say and do the "right" thing simply for how it will look to others and reflect on gays and lesbians.
My relationship is just as valid as anyone else's. I have always felt this way even in the 1970's and it is where I stand today. I should not have to wait someday to legally marry the man of my dreams. I have been angry for years about the absence of this right.
We recently made a video of all of our years together and reflected on how young and innocent we both were in our own ways. Our story is sweet and loving and I cried tears of joy while watching the years go by us. I remember the first time we dressed up in tuxedos to attend a black tie gay event. I remember our first holiday season together where he celebrated Hannukah for the first time with my family and me. Moving in together was not easy given that we were two gay men with two different living styles and tastes.
Mike and I went on our first date and he asked me, "Is this a date?" To me, this was so nice, innocent, and brave that it grabbed my heart. How many men would have the nerve to ask that question and risk being told no? As gay men you don't always know if it is a date or just going out as friends. You spend your whole night trying to figure it out. He was simply up front about it and it was so refreshing.
Of course my answer was yes.
The second date, before Mike and I went out to dinner early in the evening, he asked me, "Are were still dating?" Another honest, direct, vulnerable question!
"My answer is yes -- if you're still interested."
He was still interested. And so am I--20 years later! I dare anyone to watch our video and tell me I don't deserve the same treatment as any other straight couple.
Someone reading this will probably accuse me of being just another angry gay guy. Well I admit I am an angry gay guy and I am ranting because I want to marry Mike. And I will be angry and rant until I can be legally married.