On Monday of this week, my partner and I got married. Well … better to say, we came as close as the country we were born into would let us get to a legal union. My beautiful partner’s vows were: “This is my last will and testament.” Ironically, on Tuesday, I was dragged into another notary’s office to participate in a procedure because I continue to somehow be legally bound to the late father of my child whom I have been divorced from for the past decade and never in a real relationship with. Isn’t life a doozy?
Whenever the subject of gay marriage comes around, straight people (who have always had this privilege and have no idea what it is like to love someone and have to call them “your friend” – which is by the way, what my partner had to call me in her will – because this is what we were doing), there is a question that comes up so often: why do you need to get married? You don’t need a marriage certificate to be with or love each other.
If the sole reason behind a marriage certificate were to sustain love … city halls world wide would have so little to do. There is a much more mundane answer to this – one that is true, regardless of how much we resent it. The marriage license tells authorities you are more than friends, that you are in a consensual union with someone and that they are in a special relationship with you.
Monday was another day when I felt the lack of fairness cut into me. The way the notary was pretending we were just friends, sitting next to my partner during the drawing up and signing of her will, rather than celebrating our love in marriage vows said in front of our friends, in joy, considering how to draw up documents that show our decisions because nobody will ask the other as a partner once one of us is gone. Sitting there next to her, I went from the anticipated pain of “oh my god at some point we will be done apart by death,” to “how do I let my family know I don’t want to be buried in an orthodox cemetery but cremated and planted at the roots of a linden tree? They won’t believe her … is there a notary document for that?” Tears came, involuntarily, remembering so many things: how we cannot own anything together that we cannot pay with money up front as we are considered to be nobody to each other in the face of the law, how I had to speed behind an ambulance that my beloved was in, to make it to the hospital at the same time and have her indicate me as the next of kin (I did not make it by the way … the ambulance beat me to it … obviously), how she cannot take our son (whom she has raised for the past decade alongside me) to any doctor because … she is not a parent or caretaker in the eyes of the law … . And these are just the obvious things … .
It is very easy to overlook these when you don’t have to worry about them. It is such overt hypocrisy for the powers that be to consider a union between a man and woman sacred and not to be interfered into even if there is domestic violence or child abuse while, in the best of cases, looking the other way when it comes to potential unions of, yes, same sex partners that run a healthy home, pay taxes in amounts they do not want to see and do all their best to be good citizens … . Viscerally unfair, but very easy … after all, who does it affect other than us? And we don’t really matter, do we?
I laugh in a bittersweet way and say, we are getting ready for another “marriage” – well, as soon as the money is all there – buying a place together. At least this way our names will be joined on the same piece of paper, we will, in one small respect, share the same rights and enjoy the same privileges.
Photo by Alex Jackman on Unsplash