In October 2008, my Beloved Partner (BP) and I were married. I can honestly say it was the most joyful day of my 46 years. Unfortunately, November 4th came far too soon, and that was my saddest.
BP and I have been together for many years. Truthfully, she is the light of my life. We're pretty typical of any other married couple. Our day to day is about work (I am a college professor, BP a senior administrator) and the regular stuff of real life, like cleaning the house, or working on the garden, rather than about politics or advocacy. We live a boring suburban life in a nice neighborhood. We like to go to the theatre and go hiking. We don't look any different from any other vaguely-earth-mothery professional women of middle years. We "pass". But now we find ourselves thrust into an advocacy role.
Like many in our position, BP was married previously. She has two children, and she and her Ex divorced when she came out. Divorce is always painful, but everyone came through it in the end, and BP is still extremely close to Ex who is a fine man. The kids, now in their late teens, handled it all remarkably gracefully. Indeed, when she was still in school, the oldest used our relationship as a test of sorts. "If people have a problem that my mom is gay," she explained, "they aren't really my kind of people." The children have been the center of our lives; I'm not a typical step-parent, because both their mom and dad are both present and very involved. In fact, it would be possible for an outsider interacting with our family at the PTA or a soccer game not to realize that BP and Ex are divorced.
Before BP, I was all about the career and was a very lonely person. When BP came into my life, it's as though I suddenly could see in color, instead of shades of grey. My parents and family have all been incredibly supportive of my middle-aged coming out and have welcomed BP with open arms.
Our wedding brought everyone together and the kids and Ex as well as my siblings were all active participants. ( I'll write more about our wedding in another post). The arguments against our marriage are so frusturating, and based entirely on a mistaken idea of who we are and what it means to us.
First, of course, we have kids too! Marriage helps protect BP and the kids if something were to happen to me, or vice versa. The absence of same-sex marriage is not going to change the fact that many gay people are raising families, and doing a very good job of it.
Additionally, we're also frustrated by the religion question. BP, who is Roman Catholic, did not ask, and did not expect, her church to marry us. But she had hoped for at least a truce. Instead, the vitriol from some of the Catholics and the hurtful rejection of her secular, civil rights as a gay person has sent her away from her childhood church. But she has found an explicit welcome at the Episcopal church (which I've described elsewhere), where we as a lesbian married couple are actually wanted and affirmed. We'll explore more of the religion questions on this blog later.
Meanwhile, I've written a lot more about our experiences on the group blog Friends of Jake. Additionally I will re-post some of my previous posts from Friends on this blog as we go along.
Do you have a story to tell, about what it means to be gay and married? Let me know in the comments, and I will turn it into a post.