Wednesday, July 23, 2008

quickie

I have about five minutes to write this while some stuff i'm doing for work makes a long, tortuous slog from Texas to Quebec and back, by way of Pennsylvania. It's going on the intarweb, so it ought to be reasonably fast, but i imagine all the firewalls, VPNs, routers, and Snuffleupaguses between here and there are going to slow it enough for me to peck out a few words today.

I'm getting married Saturday (in Canada). Officially, technically, it doesn't "mean anything" since Texas doesn't recognize gay marriage in any way, and the US in general doesn't, either. Even if they did, my understanding is that two American citizens living in the US cannot go abroad to marry and transfer that home. However, the closer I get to the date, the more it settles in my heart exactly how much this really does "mean". I started down this path because I thought it was important for my family to see me get married. I know exactly what my relationship to Rose is, what it means, how serious and good and committed it is. But until I marry her, my family doesn't know that. I don't talk about my feelings very much at all, and unless someone asks a direct question, I don't volunteer. Even if I could single out every person in my family and friend network and tell them exactly what Rose means to me -- and I didn't die of an emotional hemorrhage from talking about my feelings that much -- even then I'm quite sure it would not have the same impact that simply getting married has. Culturally, the act of getting married says something to people that I doubt I could put into words.

Does it matter what other people think? On one level, of course it does not. I know in my heart, mind and soul exactly how I feel, think, and relate. None of those things changes because I've promised out loud in front of witnesses to continue to do so. But on another level, it does. My life is not lived in a vacuum, it's carried on in the mesh of my entire community of family and friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and strangers. Saying "I'm married" makes it immediately obvious to people how they should relate to me, where my significant other fits into my life, and how they should relate to her if and when they meet. It's cultural shorthand, and I like shorthand, especially when it comes to discussing my emotions. That's it! I'm getting married so I won't have to talk about my feelings so much! heh. Okay, maybe not...

In the sense that I'll be able to utilize that cultural shorthand in explaining that piece of my life, going through with this ritual does indeed mean something. In the sense that it will make it easier for my extended family to take in and deal with the immediate family I'm starting, it also "means something". That's probably not sufficient reason to do all the things involved in getting married. Heck, it's probably not even a sufficient reason to stuff myself into a strapless dress. For someone with my dating record and my legendary fear of commitment, proving that I'm willing to marry may be more important than actually doing it.

I also can't deny that the political act of marrying, knowing that it won't be recognized at home, and marrying anyway, will make a difference in the legal recognition of gay marriage in the US. I hope that as more gay couples make these public commitments to each other, more people will understand that this is no threat to their lives. I'm not getting married so I can swing a bayonet at anyone's marriage or family. I'm not going to force anyone else to get married. Conversely, I'm darn sure not going to go away or quit being gay because I'm denied civil equality. I'm just trying to give my life a little balance in my little corner of the world.

1 comment:

Jaime said...

Congrats my dear. Toya and I send all our Love.

James