After yesterday’s announcement that my partner and I will marry, now that our home state became the first in the nation to allow same-sex marriage by a popular vote of the people (Maine was second, but also should be recognized and applauded)… several people asked us about our “wedding plans.”
In fact, I had several elected officials in our state’s general assembly ask if they could attend our wedding.
None of those asking us about our wedding saw the comments in yesterday’s blog post about our intent to go “low key” with our marriage. I gently explained to them why.
First of all, my partner and I have been together for almost 20 years. It’s not like we’re kids just getting married for the first time. For the youngins getting married, a traditional wedding and reception/party, is fine. For us old farts, our “new” relationship will be the same on one level (married couple), but different on another (not universally recognized in our country of birth).
Also, we realize that same-sex marriage still makes many people uncomfortable. It’s hard for traditional straight men and women to accept a “gay marriage.” Most of them are okay with two guys who say that they love each other and who live together, but there’s something else about them being married. A marriage implies much more than a casual relationship — including sex. A wedding and reception amplifies the discomfort that a lot of straight people feel. You can see it on their faces when they see two men kissing each other. (Sometimes you can literally hear them say, “ewww, yuck!”)
Straight guys, in particular, are extremely uncomfortable thinking about men having sex with one another. Even if gay men keep it to themselves, the mere thought of same-sex sex makes straight men really uneasy, disquieted, and uncomfortable. (Think about it this way: when men over 50 have a rectal exam to screen for prostate cancer, they get very squeamish. ‘nuf said.)
There are people who closely believe and follow the teachings of the Bible (or other religious texts such as the Koran or Torah), where language that doesn’t translate cleanly into modern English about homosexuality is included in obscure passages. These passages are referred and reflected by some religious leaders (priests, preachers, ministers, rabbis, imams, etc.) who choose to apply translations and interpretations of those passages to imply that same-sex relationships are a sin and actively teach and preach against them. I recognize that a large number of people participate in organized religion and try to adhere to what they think their leaders instruct.
Organized religion has always played the largest role against same-sex marriage. Believers have purported many things about why it’s wrong, and this blog is no forum to debate that. Let’s just suffice it to say that I find those arguments to be specious and dismissible.
Anyway, what this all boils down to about my partner and me becoming married is that we want a legal civil action to occur that will be recognized in our state and give us the same, equal treatment in the eyes of the law as any other married couple — straight or gay. Right now, we are considered by the law as strangers to one another. We have had to spend thousands of dollars in having legal documents created and filed to protect our rights and joint interests. We shouldn’t have to do that!
When we are married and treated the same way under the law of our state as heterosexual married couples are treated, these things will happen:
If I predecease my partner, he can have my share of my property without having to pay an inheritance tax. We can enter into contracts without having to have additional expensive legal work done to ensure the other’s interest in the contract is equal. (For example, I bought a fixer-upper house a couple years ago. I had to have an attorney involved in the purchase to ensure that my partner would be shown as a co-owner and title it as tenancy-in-common. If we were married, we could title it without involvement of an attorney as tenancy-in-entirety, which is the traditional titling method of real property for married couples.)
We do not want to attract attention to our getting married for these reasons:
1) we just want legal, civil recognition of our relationship and to be treated equally.
2) it’s no big deal — our marriage is a legal procedure.
3) both of us aren’t the party boys. We’re mature men and do not enjoy large, loud events any more. Especially if dancing is included. No way! (believe me, I am not, and never will be, able to dance.)
4) all of my friends who live near us are straight. I do not have any local gay friends (though I know local gay people, but not at the level of true friends.) Why invite lots of people to an event where we know most of them would be uncomfortable? It doesn’t make sense.
So that’s about it… we are low-key guys looking forward to a low-key civil procedure. That’s it. No more, no less.
Life is short: show those you love how you love them — but no need to wave the gay flag when you do it.
(P.S.: thanks to “wc” for inspiration to write this post from reading email that he sent to me yesterday.)