I’ve had a lot of mixed feelings about marriage growing up. At first I was all for it. I didn’t quite have the Cinderella dream, but I wanted to get married someday and saw myself with a husband and two or three kids and dogs and cats. Later I leaned that marriage had its complications. Not domestically, although of course it does, but politically, like that it may have been started so men could own women. This soured my taste for it. Then I came out as a lesbian and with its historical muddiness and my own personal rejection from the club, I denounced it. I said things like, Why would gay people even want to be part of this historically burdened institution. Why waste our time fighting for marriage.
But now I feel differently. I was asked a few years ago to facilitate a marriage for a straight couple. I became a minister online and read a lot of other people’s ceremonies to understand why they would want to commit themselves for life and also to come up with what to say. What I learned in that process was that the most important reason to get married is not legal or religious, but social.
Now, I’ve learned this from experience. I got married a few weeks ago. I think it was mostly inspired by my little-girl self who always wanted it. But what I experienced taught me much more than what I learned studying about it. Marriage may have had a lousy beginning, but today it is a glorified institution we all should have access to if we want it.
I was cheered like a rock-star; my whole family (like 50 people) flew in from all over the country to be there; strangers beeped their horns when they saw the toilet paper and shaving cream on our car; my flight attendant gave us complimentary champagne when I said we were on our honeymoon; the concierge at our hotel, my friends, the flight attendant, the check out lady at the grocery store, everyone said CONGRATULATIONS! like I’d done something important.
People didn’t seem to care that I married a woman. But everyone cared that I got married.