A year after New York State cleared the fags for nuptials, the summer of 2012 is turning out to be the Summer of Gay Weddings (not as terrifying as Summer of the Shark back to 2001, but nearly as dramatic for the conservatives). Since June I’ve attended 3 weddings in the flesh and 3 via the wizardry of Facebook photo albums and all of them have involved 2 loving men smiling in fancy dress before a crowd of family and friends. It’s been a beautiful and moving experience to see my kinky friends tying the knot (not literally, for once) and one that reminds me of the years immediately following college when a slew of my Christian friends were all getting married. Having these two distinctive parts of my life resemble each other in any way is surprising and even confusing.
Now of course I’m a big supporter of marriage equality and have worked in the past to raise awareness and passion for the cause. Having equal rights is foundational for being an accepted member of society and I’m so happy to see change gradually coming to America and the world (despite little hiccups in places like Iran and North Carolina). But just because I support and believe in everyone having the right to marry doesn’t mean I myself want to or feel the need to marry. I even think marriage is a bad idea for some.
Marriage is the perfect union between two imperfect parts. The institution is deeply rooted in our society and psyche and carries the power (myth) of being the ultimate union with your one true match for eternal happiness, stability, and fulfillment. This tale is told to us in countless ways and to a large degree it’s a lie and a very unrealistic way for 2 humans to live. I don’t believe that marriage=happiness or that single=unfulfilled life and I know sometimes person+person=disaster. I also thought being gay meant being cool and free from the rules of society and that I’d never have to settle down and conform ;).
Until recently I never really considered marriage to be an option for me, so I didn’t gave it much thought. But now after seeing so many of the gay men in my life get hitched, it’s a concept that’s more real…and something that other couples can casually ask my partner and I about over lunch.
Friend: “So what about you guys? Planning to get married?”
Us: (said together in union) “Uhhhh…uhhh…well…youknow…uhhh…”
I love my partner and I’m committed to him in very real and deep ways. But our views on relationships and sex are far from the standard model and I don’t see why we would ever need to officially be joined together by the state (beyond the legal and financial benefits…). I feel like hammering us into a marriage mold would diminish us as individuals and end up backfiring later. Does this mean I don’t love him enough to put a ring on it? No, it means I love him enough to be a realistic human being with him and myself.
Marriage is fine and marriage is good. I’m totally thrilled to come to your wedding and smile and cry when you kiss. And I want marriage equality because I want to live in a country that’s enlightened enough to recognize me. But marriage isn’t for everyone and shouldn’t be the measure of a couple’s success and commitment. The ways in which people connect are far more numerous and profound than can be measured be how many gowns and bouquets are bought and thrown. And a person can be single his/her whole life and still know tremendous amounts of love and loyalty.