In the days leading up to the ruling on Prop. 8, couples like my wife and I wait to hear if our immediate future will be filled with the joy of having a legally recognized marriage. Or will it be filled with an overwhelming feeling of disappointment? Disappointment in humanity itself that the portion of ignorant biggots may have been louder and more powerful than the portion of good, kind people.
My wife is legally, my domestic partner. But we use the word wife because that's what we are to one another and no laws will ever take that away. Yet we still have that moment after meeting someone new and are introduced as a married couple, that the new people will inevitably ask, "Legally married?" to which we always have to edify, "Well domestic partners but close enough."
But it's not really. It's not close enough. Not even by a long shot. So to try to close the gap, when we filed our domestic partnership papers, I legally took her name as my own. As if to say, look we have the same last name, we must be legally bound to one another in some way. It's sad, but as a gay couple you take the little victories wherever you can find them.
We didn't have a big wedding for our domestic partnership. It was more like eloping ... with a notary. Not as romantic as it might sound. But we have been planning on having our dream wedding when and if Prop. 8 is struck down. Sounds easy enough right? Wrong.
Like most of my straight counterparts know, a wedding takes a lot of time. Most venues require a full year to book in advance. Caterers, entertainment, bakeries, printers, all of them require MONTHS in advance, as well as significant deposits. Which is no problem unless you're like us and the entire wedding is dependent on how the courts rule.
Some of you might be wondering what the big deal is? Why not just wait to hear the ruling and then start planning? Well here's the thing with that .... the opposition is already promising that they'll fight us to the end if we win this round. They have very deep pockets and threats like that have some weight. I don't think most gay couples ever believed that we would lose our rights last time it was legal to marry, so why would we wait this time? Part of me worries that even if we do win, it might be temporary. So we feel a certain amount of urgency to run down to the courthouse and get married before something else happens.
Besides the fear that our victory could be fleeting there's the celebratory aspect as well. We want to be part of this historical time. We want to be legally married as soon as we hear the ruling is in our favor. We want to be around other gay couples that also getting married and we want to wallow in the love and excitement of being able to be part of this monumental time. But we don't just want a simple courthouse wedding. While that's great and perfect for so many people, we basically had that for our domestic partnership. This will be a time to celebrate with our friends and family. We want to throw a big, fat, gay wedding and we want it to coincide with the excitement of the times, not wait a year to book the venue. We've waited five years, one more year just feels like salt in the wound.
So what's a girl to do? I went ahead and planned the wedding. But with not even knowing if or when it would be legal, I have to wait to hear the ruling and then hope and pray that all the plans we've already made are still possible. Otherwise, we'll have to compromise on either the when or the where. When it comes down to it, the wedding doesn't matter, just the marriage. But in this case, since we all worked so hard for this win, I'm going to go ahead and say that all the gay weddings that will hopefully be happening very soon, are more than just your average wedding. They're part of history and I think that alone, makes every single one of them, from the courthouse steps to the mansion ballroom, weddings worth celebrating just a little bit more.