Family / Life / News & Politics

At Last: Marriage Equality Comes To Minnesota

IMG_2394When Luisa and I began planning our commitment ceremony in 2000, I called my mother to tell her and remember her saying that it wasn’t a “real wedding.” She went on to say that it was actually illegal, clearly missing the nuanced difference between “not legally recognized” and “you could do jail time.”

In October of that year, our family and friends joined us in Minnesota for a celebration. There was a caterer and a photographer and a band and an open bar. We dressed formally and there was an officiant and we exchanged vows and rings and we kissed. I even got knocked up that day though, admittedly, there was more involved than a bottle of champagne and a hotel room.

Still, there were those, like my mother, who did not see our ceremony as a wedding and even I saw it as separate but not quite equal.

Yesterday, I stood in the Capitol building as the Minnesota Senate voted to make marriage equality a reality.

I was there with my two children and friends and their children. Luisa was out of the country and could not be with us and I missed her so much when it was announced that the bill had passed. I would have loved to have grabbed her and kissed her because 20 years is a very long time to live as a couple “not quite equal” to others. Instead, I was with my son who wrapped his arms around me, looked up into my face and said, “It passed! We won!”

I was already in tears.

Happy, sad or angry – my son cannot stand to see me cry. As we held onto each other in that sea of people, he just kept looking at me and saying, “You’re going to get married, mama. You’re going to get married.” I nodded and laughed as I continued to cry, “Yeah, I’m going to get married.” Then, he held my hands and said, “Promise me you’ll get married as soon as you can, before they can take it away.”

And that is the reality of the world in which he has lived – that rights are bestowed by higher powers but can just as easily be taken back.

I looked around me…at the woman in her 50s standing alone smiling and crying, at the elderly couple holding hands who could not stop sobbing, at the couple who had a sign proclaiming their 25 years together and then to all the very young activists who shed no tears, only laughed and cheered.

For those of us who are older, legal recognition of our relationships seemed unfathomable for most of our lives. For those young activists who were all smiles, it has always seemed inevitable. There is no doubt that this was a political victory but, for many of us, it was so much more personal than that.

With Miguel still wrapped around my waist, I texted Luisa, “Marry me? :)”. My phone died and I didn’t get her response until much later, “Yes!! :)”

It is easy to be cynical about marriage.

It is easy to be jaded.

But, if I could ask for a wedding present, it would be that we could all be happy about this for a little while. Yes, there is much more work to be done but, for now, let’s see marriage equality as beautiful.

After twenty years together, I will be able to marry my partner, my lover, my best friend and the mother of my children.

There is so much beauty in that.

 Photo Credits

 

 

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  1. These are great photos! Thanks for being at the Capitol when some of us could not. I feel in the middle; I’m young enough to have the feeling (now) that this was inevitable, but old enough to know feeling that it wasn’t. I remember when Ellen came out on TV and I was so happy and shocked; I never thought I’d see the day when a gay person would be real on TV (and not just a caricature).

    I’ll leave my jadedness aside for awhile. It’s nice to just bask in the energy and hope that was yesterday. There’s always work to do, but it feels good to be so happy in this moment. Let’s party!!

  2. Congratulations! On the victory, on the upcoming nuptials, on equality. Finally.

  3. I shed tears…because we are officially those older people who never thought they’d see the day. C’mon children and gather round, and let me tell you about a time when the Wii and the iPhone were as unfathomable as marriage equality. Oy, my sciatica!

    Fingers crossed I’m not incontinent when the Supreme Court makes good.

  4. I am crying too. What a moment!

  5. Again, so happy for your family. May your legal wedding date be under clear, blue skies.

    Also? You are raising the coolest, most intelligent kids ever. They are our future leaders, and I’m happy about that.

  6. Esther Wifler says:

    Congratulations! The photos are fabulous! Thanks for sharing the day with all of us. xoxo

  7. Esther Wifler says:

    And another thing! (because i hit submit too early) We all love your family so much! My kids wouldn’t be who they are if it weren’t for you and Luisa. xoxo

  8. I’m so glad that you and your kids could be there. What a fantastic, memorable day.

  9. News of your proposal yesterday made me cry and this made me cry, too. I don’t know you, but Laurie loves you and your family, and that’s close enough for me to love you, too.

  10. Crying at my desk in jaded Massachusetts.

  11. oh, man. Also teary here. And I love that your kids get to be witnesses to such joyful history, and to their parents’ enduring love.

  12. Michelle says:

    Thank you. I really needed to read this tonight. You are such a gifted writer. Your writing can hit me right to my core – or somewhere between the center of my heart and the center of my mind, or is that my core?

  13. Enjoy the moment! I am so glad you recorded it so we can live it vicariously and you can relive it over and over again. Looking forward to enjoying future posts as you celebrate!

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