Almost ten years ago (ten years on December 1st! I can hardly believe it’s been almost a decade–it seems like we’ve been together forever~ <3), Jenn and I got together. I remember very, very clearly this particularly moment from early on in our relationship.
We didn't get together quietly or softly or tentatively. I showed up at the bus station with a ring and undying love, and she gave me a ring that same day. THE VERY FIRST DAY WE MET EACH OTHER. It was an avalanche of love, true love, that has somehow (impossibly) grown every day we've been together. I'm so in love with this woman, it breaks my heart into a thousand splinters of shining joy when I think about it. I love her more than words can say.
So, the very first week we were together, I'm sitting on her bed, playing with one of her cats. She's in the kitchen, making lunch. I got very overwhelmed by all of my feelings, and when she came into the bedroom with the plates, I was crying. "What's wrong?" she asked, worried, but I gathered her into my arms, held her close and sobbed, because the finality of the truth had hit me, all at once, desperately and terribly:
"I can't ever get married to you," I whispered, crying my heart out. "I can never get married to you."
Back then, there wasn't even a possibility. It wasn't even a joke–it was a nonexistent idea of nonexistence. But then, everything began to happen with California, and the very glimmerings of hope began to emerge. But when Jenn and I first got together, it was a fairy tale.
And now…here we are. We've been "illegally" married, and legally married when NY passed it two years ago. AND NOW, WE ARE FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED.
This has been one of the most emotional days of my life. I've cried a lot, the happiest, hiccuping tears of joy you could possibly imagine. I have these moments where I have to hug random people, where listening to the coverage on NPR in the car made me burst into tears when some amazing man proposed to his boyfriend, sobbing himself.
Marriage doesn't fix anything, and at the same time, it begins to fix everything. I have been the victim of hate crimes, almost every single one of my queer friends has been the victim of hate crimes. By being seen as equal by our nation, the tide of hatred MUST begin to change. This isn’t about marriage, and it never WAS about marriage. It’s about the dignity of a human being. By being afforded equal treatment by the country in which we live, it sets the standard for how we should be treated by everyone else. When we were second class citizens, stabbing a lesbian was something that happened all the time, in ways you never heard of (I never reported the hate crimes committed against me…want to bet how many others haven’t, or have but got nowhere?), but as the tide of the very basis on HOW WE ARE TREATED changes because we are recognized as EQUAL, everything else will begin to change.
I’m overwhelmed with joy, thrilled, happy and triumphant today, and I’ve kissed my wife over a thousand times and aim to make it two thousand. This isn’t the end…this is the beginning.
And I am shining with all this love.
Picture from our LEGAL wedding, NOW A FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED WEDDING, by the incomparable Vasilion Photography.