The day after we got back went went about filing for a domestic partnership. Tarra started work on that next Monday and we had to make things legal here so I can share her health insurance. A little internet research told us to print out this form and have it signed by a notary public. Well, we knew it was slightly less glamorous than a wedding, whatever, this was a legal move. We did want to do this as soon as possible so we considered just driving to the clerks office and handing it over right then and there. Except, well, if you bug an actual person, they charge you $15 extra. So, please, you can get partnered, I just don't want to see you do it. Ok, fine. Filling out paperwork, great, great, sign here, change of name for Tarra...done! Where is our notary public in town? Oh, right, the UPS store. Cue the wedding march and sprinkle the packing peanuts! We're getting hitched! The lady signs our papers and charges her fee, then says "congratulations!" and urges us to celebrate. I try to explain I don't want to celebrate being separately equal and this whole thing is sort of insulting the best I can without sounding like a bitter ass. I erred on the bitter side I think.
We recently received our certificate in the mail with a printed on signature. Couldn't even bare to sign it... you must have so many of these Ms. Secretary of State? Fuckin Hell. However, in California, your marriage via mail comes with an instruction manual that says it's not ok to beat your partner and you should plan babies. I don't mean to sound so angry, that's actually pretty cool. I mean, we could have had a ceremony ourselves, but why? We aren't MARRIED here. We are Domestically Partnered. The same thing they give to old people that have been together for centuries and never bothered to get married just so when one croaks the other can collect their social security and they don't get separated in old folks homes. Nice, my relationship is lumped in with old people apathetically partnered.
Whatever. This electronically signed certificate of bogus marriage-lite entitles us to share insurance, collect life-insurance, visit in the hospital, adopt each other's kids (that will actually be OURS). We have it, we're legal now.
Though, where does this leave us. We're married in New York State, partnered in California, and single in like 40 states. So, should we go driving cross country and crash in say, Texas, I can't visit her in the ER. Nice. How do we file taxes? I mean we'll just do it, but won't that get us audited if we file as single federally and partnered/married? Should we get a punch card and get married in every state that allows it? We already have a certificate from Voodoo Donuts that says we're intentionally committed, a marriage license, a domestic partnership paper-thing... I plan to hang these all up in our home office like diplomas claiming (and overcompensating) legitimacy of our relationship. I actually don't know where this leaves us legally.
What I do know is we're in over our heads, but we'll keep swimming because as much as I hate to admit it, we are using our relationship as a political tool. I know, I know, I begged to be left alone and be quietly equal. But, I am conflicted. When I introduce Tarra as my wife, it's political. People ask how, where did you go, what does it mean....Truth? It means a whole lot of things and nothing at the same time.
Big things are coming though. Prop 8 has just been docked for November 20th in the Supreme Court- they will decide whether to hear it or not. They don't hear it? Marriage is all kinds of allowed in CA. They do, well, it's a big deal. They will decide whether citizens or states can vote on people's civil and human rights. They will decide if "gay marriage" (I hate that term, it's all marriage, please use "marriage equality") is even a human and/or civil right. They could decide with this one case that it is or isn't legal across the whole U.S. Probably not, but, the scope of the trial is huge.
The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is up at the Supreme Court too. People are outraged that they can be married in their home state and reap the VAST financial benefits, but the Federal Government will tax the shit out of them when one dies like they are strangers. Please Sob your eyes out here. "It doesn't matter how long you were together, we were engaged for 40 years, the next day is different! Marriage is different! It's untouchable! Profound!"
Let me get to Edie's words. Things are different. We became adults overnight. We're getting a house. We're talking seriously about kids. Tarra started a career. There is no simple breaking up now, there's DIVORCE. Speaking of, if that should ever happen, we'd have to go back to NY because you can't get divorced in a state you aren't even married in. Yes, gays get divorced too. Their success rate at staying married is 50/50. We're not so different. I can't see it going that way though, I can't get over how I still have a crush on her. In going through pictures to make this blog, I keep being struck by how beautiful she is. I cry every time I write about how much I love her.
I dislike impotent anger. It is what is sounds- useless. You have been through this with us, whether actively a part of our lives, or passively though this blog. Most of you couldn't be there to celebrate with us, and many couldn't give when we needed. Please, then, do us this favor. SPEAK UP! Tell your story, tell our story. Yell it from the rooftops! Bring it up with your families. Tell the world that we are ordinary people with an extraordinary love for one another and deserve to be married. No, we can't vote on it anymore, but holding our love to a different letter in the law creates difference. It doesn't seem a big deal at first (if you didn't read my above rant), but difference is dangerous. It makes us "othered". It allows for discrimination. It makes space for kids to perceive inferiority and target kids they even think could be gay and bully them until they can't take it. SEPARATE IS NOT EQUAL. We've done this once before and this time is no different. We can no more choose who we love than can we choose the color of our skin. My love for Tarra is not different than any other and I should be allowed to share our student debt, our children, our property, tax breaks, retirement homes, and everything else in ANY AND EVERY state. Please, start sharing stories, we're all a lot more alike than you can imagine.