My Big Fat Greek commitment Ceremony

Posted: 16 January 2005 in queerlife, the fantastic

I’m just like you. I’m close to my family, I like pirates, I work, I buy things when I should be saving my money, I sometimes forget to run the dishwasher, I don’t like telemarketers any more than you do, I wear a dimond ring on the third finger of my left hand. But when I solemnly swear to love D. as long as we both shall live, no one will recognize it. Not really. Oh, I know I could have run off to San Francisco, believe me, I checked the flights. And, it was just a short road trip up to Massachusetts. Vermont is just a spit and a giggle away and really, wouldn’t I be happy with a civil union? There’s Canada, you know. I know. But I live here.

Here. DC. The United States. I’ll spare you the history of our forefathers. We know they bucked the system so that they could live the way they wanted to live. My problem is, we’re still living the way they wanted to live. Our vaunted Bill of Rights aside, we live in a puritan society. I’m surprised we don’t still leave babies out for the wolves. I’m not knocking my rights, I’m just exhausted by being excluded.

My struggles with this vary in their intensity. They swing from fight the world to please-love-me complacency. But as the date comes closer, I wish it were as simple as marrying against my parents wishes, crossing the barriers of religion, of culture. I wish it could be overcome by converting, by eloping, by saying to hell with it. I want it to be a marriage in name, not a civil union or a commitment ceremony, though I’d settle for the rights conferred by a civil union. But I have a government handicap. We’re both women. And as long this government (and probably the ones that come immediately after) runs the country, I don’t deserve the right to marry her.

Our families support us. My mother and father toasted us with champagne and offered to send us on our honeymoon. I couldn’t ask them to be more supportive. If they were, I’d feel awkward about drowning in traditions that don’t quite fit. But we constantly struggle with the little issues: Do we have a cake? Is it marriage if we do it alone on the beach? Do we register? Send invitations or announcements? Should we expect gifts? And, we struggle with the big issues: Do we buy a house in a state that doesn’t allow second parent adoption? Would life be better in Canada? What do we do for work if we move, when we move?

As for marrying her, I want to be recognized. I want to work somewhere that celebrates my week off to get married. I don’t want my boss to say “We’ll work around it” instead of “Congratulations”. I want to send our grandmothers an announcement and not have them worry about the etiquette. I want this to be simple. Not like reinventing the wheel. I want to marry her without doubt, worry and caution. I want my mostly straight friends to not have to grapple with what to do, to say, when. I want to be one of you.

Regardless, we’ll be exchanging vows on a beach in March. Witnessed by sand and sea, attended by love and happiness, married. Because at some point, you have to stop leaving the babies that aren’t just like you out for the wolves.


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