Tag: Marriage Equality

Legally Wed

Yesterday, nearly four years after our religious ceremony, Sherri and I became legally married. I am so incredibly happy and proud to be able to call Sherri my legal spouse, and me hers, with all the rights and responsibilities therein.

Christie's mom Laura reads a few words.
Christie’s mom Laura reads a few words.

The ceremony was brief, at our home, with a few clothes friends and family members in attendance.

These are the words I spoke to Sherri:

Not quite 7 years ago, I set out for Portland to start a new part of my life. Someone, or something must have been aware of my plan, because I was guided to you shortly upon my arrival here.

Since then I have learned that you are one of the most generous, compassionate and courageous spirits I have ever met. From the beginning, you opened your heart wide to me and while cautious at first, I have learned to take great refuge in your presence.

As many here know, the last handful of years together has been difficult. But between the challenges we’ve faced, we’ve found space for joy, laughter, and delight. I would do everything all over again for the privileged of getting to build this life with you.

My vows to you:

Because our life together will not always be easy, I vow to meet challenges in our relationship with a sense of compassion and adventure.

Because our family is but one piece in a very large puzzle. I vow to live a life of service to you, to our marriage and to our community.

Because while love is not scarce, many resources are, I vow to make sure you always have the things you need most such as food, water, shelter and art supplies. I vow to utilize our resources wisely.

Because I want to spend the most amount of time possible with you and grow old together, I vow to care for my body and mind.

Because play is just as important as work, I vow to cultivate playfulness, laughter and lightness in our relationship.

Because what I was hiding, deep inside, you brought out into the light, and even thought it is terrifying at times, I vow to stand bravely in the light of your love.

My dearest Sherri, You are the first person who made me truly feel loved. I look forward to sharing a life of practice with you and I am truly honored that you are recognizing again this commitment with me here today, in front of our friends and family.

While I wish we didn’t have to wait at all to get legally married, I’m grateful we have been able to do so in our home state earlier than I had anticipated. I’m grateful for the opportunity affirm “yes, I know what these vows mean in practice and I continue to commit to every single one of them.”

The Ursula K Le Guin quote that Sherri sent out with our invitations says it all:

Love does not just sit there, like a stone; it had to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.

Civil Partnerships are Anything but Equal

Recently a co-worker posted the following on his personal blog (which was syndicated on Planet Mozilla):

Civil partnerships and marriages in the UK give exactly the same legal rights and operate under the same constrictions.

Opponents of marriage equality inevitably issue statements like this to make their views seem reasonable and non-discriminatory. And far too many people believe it to be truth without examining it critically.

Let’s use the UK as an example and review some of the ways in which civil partnerships are not, in fact, equal to marriage:

1. You cannot have a religious ceremony. From the Wikipedia entry on civil Partnership in the UK:

It is prohibited for civil partnerships to include religious readings, music or symbols and for the ceremonies to take place in religious venues.

That’s right, even if your religious community allows same-sex marriage and wants to be a part of your ceremony, it cannot. You are only allowed a secular ceremony.

2. The constraints on the gender of the parties involved make both civil partnerships and marriage trans-phobic. If you change your gender in the UK and are married, you must get a divorce and then enter into a civil partnership with your now ex-spouse. And visa versa.

3. Civil partners of male peers or knights do not receive a courtesy title to which the spouse of a peer or knight would be entitled.

4. UK civil partnership law does not allow for legal same-sex marriages performed in other countries to be recognized as marriages in the UK. If you are legally married in, say, Canada, and then emigrate to the UK, your relationship status is downgraded to a civil partnership.

5. You do not get to say that you are married or that you have a spouse (for legal purposes or otherwise). This means that even if the intent of UK civil partnership law was to provide the same legal rights and responsibilities as marriage, there will be loopholes wherein certain rights are only granted in the case of “marriage” and/or to “spouses.” I read somewhere, though I don’t recall where, that one example of this is in the case of private pensions.

Limiting “marriage” to opposite-sex couples sends the message that same-sex relationships are inferior, not deserving of marriage, but only of an expressly different and entirely separate institution.

Please think about these things the next time you read or hear someone say that civil partnerships are just as good as marriages for us queer folk.