Family

Marriage Equality Comes to North Carolina

Little Boy holding sign reading, "Love is winning"

My oldest at the Register of Deeds

It is nearly three in the morning, and I just fed my twins. We had a pretty good night. We went to a big barbecue in our neighborhood, saw some old friends, watched a HUGE bonfire and, oh yeah, our marriage became recognized in our home state 10 years, 4 months and 19 days after we were married in Massachusetts. No biggie.

We had gone down to the Register of Deeds in our county earlier Friday to await a decision from the federal judge on the constitutionality of the North Carolina anti-marriage amendment. We went to stand with our friends and compatriots who have been involved in the Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) for the last three years. We hugged and waited excitedly. We waited and waited while the day dragged on and, after more than two hours of waiting, our three-year-old became bored and kind of cranky, and the twins needed a change of clothes, so we headed home not knowing when the decision would be handed down.

Still, I obsessively checked CSE’s Twitter feed as we got ready for the barbecue we had been talking up to our oldest for a week. “HUGE bonfire,” we told him. “You can stay up late and see the stars,” we promised.

My heart felt tugged back down to the Register of Deeds as Twitter started to tell me that “something” was happening, but we had promised stars and a HUGE bonfire so we decided to head to the barbecue. Along the way, I saw my neighbor, who is also queer, walking her dog and we said “hello” as I checked Twitter again. It was then that I saw the news that the judge had ruled our state’s marriage ban unconstitutional. Halfway up the road standing by my neighbor, staring at my phone while my spouse sat at home feeding our other twin. In an instant, our marriage finally became recognized by our state. Just like that. After all these years of waiting.

My neighbor and I hugged while I sobbed, feeling odd that I was sharing this moment with someone other my my spouse. My inclination was to get back downtown to be in the middle of the revelry, but we had promised our son stars and that HUGE bonfire. So, I kept watching Twitter and Facebook on my phone and crying as we walked. I might have even turned back to look at my mini-van sitting in my driveway a time or two wondering how long it would take to get everyone loaded and back downtown. But in that moment, I made a decision about what was best for my son and not for me. And isn’t that what all of this has been about anyway? Doing what is best for our children and our families. Protecting them, holding their best interests above all else. So we went to the barbecue. We saw old friends and ate really, really good food. I cried some more, told people the news and then we cried together. I really missed not being at the Register of Deeds office, but we made the right decision. The stars were bright and you should have seen the bonfire. It was HUGE.

PHOTO CREDIT: BETSY FIFE ARCHER

 

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2 Comments

  1. Deborah Goldstein says:

    Thank you for sharing your firsthand experience as marriage equality came to North Carolina! It’s amazing to hear all the happy, beautiful stories while the nation finally starts recognizing our relationships. It was a shame you couldn’t be in two places at once, but being with friends and family at the beach sounds like the perfect way to celebrate. Congratulations!!

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