We lived in California when same-sex marriage first became legal in Massachusetts. I remember seeing Rev. William Sinkford, then president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, on television performing the first legal same-sex wedding ceremonies. I remember feeling incredible pride that I was a UU.
When we moved to Massachusetts this past summer, New York had just legalized same-sex marriage and the article I read mentioned that it had been legal in Massachusetts for eight years.
“Oh, yeah,” I thought, remembering seeing Rev. Sinkford on TV all of those years back. “This is the first time I’ve lived in a state where same-sex marriage was legal. Neat.”
Then a couple of months ago, my daughter’s flute teacher referred to her wife. It was in the context of her wife having pneumonia, which wasn’t cool at all, but her using the word “wife” had a powerful positive effect on me.
My thoughts ran something along the lines of, “I am a wife. I love being a wife. I have a husband. I love having a husband. She’s a wife. She loves being a wife. She has a wife. She loves having a wife.”
All of my adult life I’ve had friends who were in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships, marriages in all senses but the legal one. This was the first time I had shared the language of marriage with someone who was part of one of these relationships.
I was surprised at just how joyous I felt—and feel—about sharing marriage with my friends who were previously denied this right. I’ve never been a big fan of weddings (I once—to my shame—stepped aside and let the bouquet drop on the floor rather than catch it when the bride threw it). I can’t stand Pachelbel’s Canon, feel unaccountably annoyed when I hear that bit from 1st Corinthians, and just generally think a lot of the talk about marriage is corny and cliched.
But marriage equality may have pushed me over to the romantic side just a tad.
I love love. I love seeing people in love. I love being married, and I find that I love seeing happy married people, especially those who’ve not been allowed to marry in the past. It’s like a brand-new celebration! And I feel practically giddy talking about who’s taking whose last name (which is another major point of sharing as my husband and I chose to be unconventional with our name-sharing: we both hyphenated our last names).
I feel almost embarrassed at the intensity of the glee that I feel about marriage equality. I want to hug and congratulate every same-sex married couple that I see. I don’t, though, because that would be way too corny for me. And besides that kind of weird.
But this Valentine’s Day, even though I’m refraining from hugging people I hardly know, I wanted at least to share with all of you how happy I am to live in a state where all people who love each other can be wives and have wives, be husbands and have husbands, and be married, just like I am so thrilled to be every single day, even after more than 12 years.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!