When I moved to New England from North Carolina in 2004, Massachusetts was the only state in the union that legally recognized same sex marriages. One decade later we are at the tipping point where more states will recognize marriage equality than those that do not. North Carolina was the most recent state to pass an amendment outlawing same sex marriages and, with marriage equality breathing down its neck, residents there may be understandably worried and might be thinking "How will this affect my straight marriage?" Remain calm. I am here to help you. Here is what will change: some men will call their spouses husband and some women will call their spouses wife. That's pretty much it. Your marriage is safe!
Oh, you may want to think about upping your game when it comes to your nuptials. Soon, you will attend weddings with flash-mob choreographed dance routines, meticulously planned themes and cutting edge color combinations. You may feel inadequate and that's completely normal, but try to remember that same sex couples in your state have waited a long time for this and the traditional ceremony will become passé.
What about those wedding showers, you ask? That's a valid point. Gender will no longer define roles in the household. Who is going to cook dinner and who is going to mow the lawn? Who gets the Revere ware and who gets the Craftsman tool chest? You may feel a little confusion and anger that in your own marriage, your spouse expects you to cook dinners while he simply takes out the trash.
Bachelor and bachelorette parties will pretty much stay the same. I can assure you of that. Well, except that both the groom and the groom and the bride and the bride will be attending the same party. No more "last chance" encounters before the BIG DAY and no more of those regrets about that lap dance before the wedding day that you might have felt.
What to wear to a same sex wedding? Relax, wear what you have always worn to a wedding. Same sex couples may wear tuxes or wedding dresses. Let's face it, when we gay couples get married if we are roughly the same size, our wardrobe basically doubles. We don't have a his and hers closet. It's our closet (and the only reason we'll be in it, is to color coordinate our clothes.) You might feel a little bit of envy.
When it comes to raising children, we'll be the same parents as you. We'll both be getting up late at night, making lunches, taking off time from work and feeling all the things that you feel. Well actually, that might be a little different. We really share the load of parenting and there are no little "surprises." No pointing fingers when the birth control fails.
You know, I may have spoken out of turn when I said that marriage equality was not going to affect your marriage. It will probably have a huge impact on your marriage. You may feel inadequate, confused, angry and envious. These are perfectly normal reactions. But remember, we don't want to undermine your traditional marriage. Hang on to it. Cherish it. We'll create new traditions. Your straight marriage is totally safe.
William Dameron's personal blog is The Authentic Life