Rights for All: Married or Not
Susie Bright had a great write-up that starts in on the gay marriages in California and then evolves into this wonderful article that states the reasons why people want to get married in the first place. Below are some of my favorite portions of the article.
For some people, a marriage proposal, more than anything else, means, ‘I Love You, Above All Others, You are My Destiny.” What they want, more than anything, is that emotional dedication. They will find temporary succor in a wedding, but if they’re captive to their own demons, that insecurity will never leave them. [emphasis mine]
How do you make your lover feel secure — and what part is their responsibility? You can never reassure an insatiable lover enough; and conversely, there are spouses who are such liars and cheats that they would put King Solomon on edge with their antics.
Some lovers, who are in a financially unequal relationships, want legal security. They don’t want to be discounted as a SAHM or dedicated muse, if the shit hits the fan.
Then there’s the unexpected illnesses, deaths, suicides, that beg for the protection of lover-positive law. Some of the most brutal cases of injustice I’ve witnessed were instances when one partner lost her beloved suddenly, and the long-estranged “blood family” came swooping in, and took everything away, from snapshots to the family car.[emphasis mine]
For all these reasons, I embrace an evenhanded marital law, the one decent thing a wedding provides.
Justice is direct; it’s rather beautiful to behold — but the romantic bundle that often goes along with people’s hitching papers is another beast entirely. It’s probably worth a few heart-to-hearts to get to the bottom of it.
“What do I want this marriage? What are my worst fears — and most delicate hopes?” If you can’t bare your breast about these things, it’s probably a bad time to get married.
But from the other side of the deathbed, I know that being a fierce advocate for my dear ones, to keep them out of pain, to speak for them when they can’t, to rattle the cage when they are too weak — that’s something I’ll always treasure, and fight to protect. It doesn’t mean “marriage,” per se, it means legal respect for the diversity of our chosen families. You can keep the cake-topper; I’ll take the equality.[emphasis mine]
I want to make a couple of comments to those chosen emphasized statements. Firstly, I’m one of those that wants to get married. I’ve been married before and I probably should have learned my lesson from that marriage about all the problems that there are in marriages because I feel that I got married to my first husband for all the wrong reasons. I feel that he changed a lot after we were married and he wasn’t the same, loving, nurturing man that I knew when he proposed to me. Maybe it was the fact that I pulled a “Carrie” à la Sex & The City and made this BIG deal about our wedding day when maybe it was really something he may not have wanted but never said anything because he wanted to make me happy. Maybe it’s because he was still trying to show me all his strong points to keep me but once he started getting more comfortable in our relationship, the real Him came out. I’m not entirely sure, but I do know that we were both at fault. I do know we were both equally wrong in the reasons why our marriage failed and I do not want to make those same mistakes again.
The divorce that I went through killed me because I was one of the many children of the 70’s and 80’s that was brought up watching movies like Snow White and Cinderella, so I had this notion that marriage was supposed to be a timeless thing, even though I watched my own parents divorce. I didn’t want that for myself. I wanted the fantasy that my grandmother had in meeting the right man at 13 and staying with him until he died at 71.
But is this really a “happy” fantasy? In watching my grandmother’s marriage, she never worked, my grandfather took care of everything for her, all she had to do was keep the house clean, take care of the kids, do all the domestic work, and was my grandfathers’ secretary for his at-home business. But was she “happy” with this arrangement? I don’t think so, but I don’t think she’ll ever say otherwise. I see a lot of the same concepts from the Feminine Mystique in my grandmother, but for some reason she never conquered these things. Even when she’s been freed from her chains by the death of my grandfather, she still won’t do for herself and I can’t quite figure out why. Is it just that she’s become so accustomed to doing things for everyone else for so long that now she just doesn’t know what to do with herself or is it that she’s afraid of what’s out there since she hasn’t really been exposed to the outside world on her own? I wish I could get the answers to these questions and I wish I could make my grandmother see how wonderful it is to be free and how liberating it is to be able to go wherever you want without having someone constantly down your throat telling you what to do, but I can’t convince her of the positive qualities of the freedom that I have.
So why do I want to get married again and have the possibility of going through the mess of a divorce? I’m a bleeding romantic. This is a huge flaw of mine. I believe in the romanticism of being told “I will love you for the rest of my days” and as much as this scares Susie, I find it terribly romantic. Some of the other reasons I want to get married is pretty much outlined above in the article. I want to have children and with children I feel I would need a certain amount of security in case something were to happen to my lover for my sake and for the sake of our kids. As it stands right now, the only way for me to attain this amount of security in the great state of Florida is to be married. If I could have all this without actually getting married, I probably would, but in truth – as I stated above – I’m a romantic and would love nothing more than to have a man pledge his eternal love to me and I to him.
What I understand from this article is that should you chose to get married, that’s great, but that everyone – whether they’re married or not – should have the same security within their relationship and should be afforded the same rights as those who are married when they have made the decision to be domestic partners, even if they don’t want to go through the entire marriage process.