Queer Issue 2012
My partner and I are getting "married." It's definitely a lot easier to talk about our plans by labeling them as marriage, even if it sometimes involves exaggerated air quotes—air quotes that are a little difficult to explain to my grandmother over the phone. The basic gist of it is that we are going to have a commitment ceremony. It happens to be before the Referendum 74 vote, but even if it passes, we don't plan on putting our commitment on the books.
Theoretically, we believe that marriage really shouldn't be bundled with legal rights at all. We believe in everyone's right to love whomever and however they want to love (with consent); their right to safety, health, and happiness; and the reforms needed for the oppressive system we live in to get there. While it sounds like a lot of fun burning the whole institution down to the ground and rebuilding it with a fresh start, the cynics in us recognize that church will probably not be separated from state in our lifetime. And there are so many who don't have the privilege of choice that we do, who need the rights that marriage can grant so that they can protect their families through access to things like insurance, visas, guardianship, and so on.
Referendum 74 is not the end of our fight, and queer marriage shouldn't be the central preoccupation of the queer movement. It is only one piece of the pie. It is important to push for more focus on sheltering and supporting homeless queer youth, fighting for trans rights, and continuing to fund AIDS research, just to name a few. We need to keep working toward getting everyone's universal basic needs met, even while we take time out to celebrate the baby steps that get us closer to them—baby steps like actually having a president who personally endorses same-sex marriage, whether or not you believe him stating it publicly was a tactic to secure the queer vote. Regardless of how I feel about the whole thing in a meta sense, I am going to allow myself to feel blessed that my grandmother gets choked up while quoting Obama's speech verbatim to me over the phone because she is thrilled for me and my partner and our friends.
Our commitment is inherently a political statement, but really it all boils down to love. Love itself is the ultimate radical act, and there are so many ways for us to love one another. My partner and I happen to be choosing to celebrate love by taking some old traditions and making them our own. We view our marriage as not only a celebration of us as individuals deciding to navigate life together, but of a love that extends beyond ourselves. We are thrilled to throw a party to say thank you to our communities and chosen families. Thank you for raising us into the beautiful, tenderhearted queers that we are and for supporting us so that we could build a love this powerful.
Plus, the high femme in me can't help but enjoy an excuse for a cute dress and some serious fuck-me pumps. My grandma wears her ditzy heels, and my mom loves her hooker boots, so I know this is at least one family tradition we can all get down with. Whether we are calling this commitment "marriage" or something else, I can't wait to wear my grandmother's wedding ring as my "something old" when I walk down the aisle—or not, since we might decide to eschew that tradition, too.