I live in Florida, where the state’s ban on gay marriage was lifted three days ago. This is, as many would say, a beautiful thing. I agree not only because I am married, but because it’s progress. Many of us, of a certain age certainly, never expected to see this happen so soon. Some of us didn’t believe it would happen in our lifetime. I am so glad so many of us were so very wrong.
It will be interesting to see where things go now, because the landscape of lesbian relationships here in the Sunshine State is profoundly changing at lightning speed. Fascinating on a political level. Soon to become up-close personal for many.
I travelled away to get married a few years ago when you could count on your fingers the number states that would allow us the privilege. It has been an interesting and nebulous legal landscape since then. I love the curious, evolving nature of this change, yet at the very same time I feel discomfort watching the legal and administrative sloppy mess – boundaries of regulation crashing into each other on their way to implosion. I don’t think anyone knows what-all the widely rippling effects will be – even while we revel in the glorious, glorious reality of equality, finally – I predict there will come with the sea change an abundance of unintended outcomes. Not all of them will be pleasant.
What will happen when my friend Kenna, who agreed to go away and get married simply to cement her failing relationship in a desperate attempt to save it – comes to find that there is no saving it and now wishes she had insisted on a prenup? Or any of my (or your!) other friends who may now find themselves in a position compelled to leap off the marriage fence and either jump into the drink or take their leave? Will it be sink or swim, skin in the game, or go down on the ship? (Ahem – I meant down with the ship!)
I think that whether or not we want to admit it, many of us have secretly enjoyed the protection that came with the fact that we couldn’t “really” get married – it was more like we were playing house. It bought us some credibility, and time. If you think about it for a bit…you know it’s true:
• Gee, baby, you know I can’t fly so we’ll just have to wait.
• You know I love ya, darlin’ and I’d marry you in a heartbeat if I could!
• We are above all that hetero bullshit – our love is so much more meaningful than anything a stupid piece of paper could give us. I put your name on my car, didn’t I?
• As soon as it’s legal here, we’ll do it…I don’t care what Daddy says.
• Fill in the blank.
I predict that there are those couples who will plunge in, foolishly, in much the same way Patrón-fuelled straight people go to those late-night Las Vegas wedding chapels. We will do this because we are giddy…because finally, we simply can. These couples will wake up, or emerge from the glut of lust and – if they’re lucky – head regretfully for the nearest available annulment broker. If they’re not so lucky…who knows? (If you do know, I want to hear from you.)
I believe that many of us will avert our eyes from the very real shortfalls of our still uncomplicated relationships and jump into marriages because we want to prove something: that we love enough, are committed enough or legit enough to pull it off. Maybe we’ll do it because we are lonely enough and with you, I can check off most of the items on my list.
Which means that lots of folks who shouldn’t get married, will. Which means that now, we will be as accountable for our mistakes, then suffer in equal measure for abdication of cognitive responsibility as our straight sisters do. This is equality.
The personal becomes political
I know I’ve said this wouldn’t be a political forum, but sometimes you just can’t help it, can you? And our lesbian lives (or nearly-lesbian for those of you still living your straight lives) cross over into the political, so today is one of those days when it will be. We are, by virtue of our orientation, preference, or proclivity – call it what you will – by definition political. Laws are changing around us as we live and breathe (hallelujah) and people doth protest oh so much!
Apparently the arrival of this newest piece of justice means comfort zones are violated and bad behavior must ensue…behavior that, when you take a step back and examine it with some detachment, becomes merely sad and juvenile. What on earth is she talking about, you ask?
Okay, here’s an example. When the inevitable became undeniable, some Florida county courthouses decided to no longer perform ANY weddings – gay or straight. They say this is because the staff is “uncomfortable” with the idea of performing same-sex weddings. To keep from being accused of illegal discrimination, they have shut the wedding chapel doors. Just dandy. Right now, acceptable.
Would it have been equally acceptable to close the doors to a schoolhouse and declare there would be no school at all because the staff was “uncomfortable” teaching a racially integrated classroom? It’s rhetorical – seriously, don’t answer that or respond unless you want to enhance the conversation. I know it’s ridiculous. All I’m saying is that it’s going to take some time for the ridiculous to become inconsequential.
But this week I am not angry. I am married.