Life / News & Politics / Sex & relationships

Marriage Equality: Reflections Past and Present

mnunitedI came out in 1990 and you do not have to be a mathmagician to realize A) that was a very long time ago and B) I am a little bit old.

Back then, I had to walk to my college classes uphill both ways and the snow was always waist deep and there were no out celebrities.

Okay…I may have exaggerated about the walking and the snow but not the celebrities part.

It was a different time, a time when visibility was a very important issue because you have to make yourself seen before you can be heard.

I was 21 years old and I had never met a lesbian other than the other young women who played on my rugby team. I had no role models in my real life and none in the media and the concept of equality seemed impossible, like something ripped from the plot of a feminist utopian novel.

It’s frightening how easy it is to learn to live with inequality. You find ways to cope with discrimination and harassment. You learn to work around the system. You live your life and protect your family to the best of your ability. You stand up and speak out and remain visible but you also learn to be patient and lower your expectations.

My partner and I have been together for almost 20 years and have two children. We have paid attorneys to draft all the documents needed to protect ourselves as best as we can under the law and we are fortunate that Minnesota allows second parent adoptions so our children have two legal parents.

I have never felt the need to get married and yet I wonder if I’ve just learned to live with the fact that we can’t. There is no way to tease out the complexity of emotions involved in all of this.

Today, the Senate Judiciary and House Civil Law Committees advanced the Freedom to Marry Bill here in the state of Minnesota. As I followed the coverage on Twitter, I couldn’t help but reflect on the past 23 years and marvel at how far we have come.  I am not interested in arguing with marriage opponents and trying to convince them my relationship is worthy nor do I want to argue with those in my own community about whether or not marriage equality is a misplaced priority.

I just want to enjoy this moment, this feeling that we are on the cusp of a significant shift towards equality.

When I was 21 and living in rural Iowa, I never imagined that I would be able to legally marry my partner in my lifetime.

When I was 40 and shacking up with my partner, our kids asked if we would ever be able to get married and we told them, “Someday” even though we weren’t sure.

I am now 44. Our kids repeatedly tell us that they want to see us get married and I feel that I can finally say with certainty that “someday” is becoming “soon.”

We are so close. So close. I can feel it.

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  1. So hopeful for you. It’s not about whether you want to get married or not – but that you should have the choice.

    I, for one, can’t wait to see wedding photos. 😉

  2. Yes, yes, Vikki. I hope that you will enjoy this moment and that there are many more just like it, right up to the day that you can get married. Beautiful post. I feel like standing up and clapping.

  3. “You stand up and speak out and remain visible but you also learn to be patient and lower your expectations.”

    This is what breaks my heart. No one. No one should have to lower their expectations of simply being allowed to live and love and be treated with respect and equality.

    I hope Minnesota has good news at the end of the day.

  4. Your wedding would be the party of the century!

  5. You just made me cry at my desk, you jerk. I’ve told you this before, I think, but maybe not clearly, and that is that stories like yours are the ones that gut me the most about this whole thing that’s so clearly finally happening, because of all you lived and did no matter the tenor of the times, and the ones that make me the happiest.

    Also, this: “I am not interested in arguing with marriage opponents and trying to convince them my relationship is worthy nor do I want to argue with those in my own community about whether or not marriage equality is a misplaced priority…I just want to enjoy this moment, this feeling that we are on the cusp of a significant shift towards equality.”

    I’m glad you get to, you and this past-twenty-or-so-years generation who, through your truth and the committed extraordinary ordinariness of your daily lives, brought it to this point. And no, you can’t tease them out, necessarily, but I’m glad you get to feel the good ones, that you get to feel however you feel. And even being an overgrown flower girl won’t express how happy I’ll be for the two of you when you finally do whatever you do to seal the deal, whenever that feels right.

  6. I rejoice with you and admire your courage to simply be who you are. Also: I’m calling dibs on flower girl. Well, that or Peeps wrangler.

  7. IF there is going to be a wedding, I need to know well in advance in order to clear my calendar, make travel plans and hit the gym. I appreciate your consideration regarding this matter.

  8. There has to be some way your could turn your wedding into not just the event of the century (for your kids) but also some kind of Lesbian Family crowdsourcing event and/or contest/ contest prize.

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