I have a dream of someday marrying the love of my life—in Texas. From Houston, I’ve also lived in Galveston several times and something in me longs to go home and marry my wife in the sculpture garden or next to the fountain I loved as a child in the deliciously sub-tropical city where I grew up, then head for the beach, palm trees and warm, breezy nights for a honeymoon (we never really had one). Who cares if we’re already married?
Who cares if we’re gay? Of course, the hot, humid homeland I’m so loyal to isn’t loyal to me.
While most couples dream of going to some exotic location such as Costa Rica or Portugal to renew their vows (sure, we’d love that too), we want to spend our money in the humble setting of my childhood but, of course, they won’t grant us a license.
Back when civil unions were all the rage because they were the only option for two people who happened to check the same gender box on forms, there was a rash of couples traveling from state to state for serial “unions” (no, it doesn’t have the same ring as “weddings”). I always loved (but never acted upon) this ultra romantic notion, yet realize there’s something primal and protective in it as well. If one state recalls the law, you’re safe in another.
After years of what was often daily advocacy (calling representatives, writing letters, signing petitions, publishing essays), when it finally became possible to marry my civil union partner (at the time) in Massachusetts, I stood there cheering with hundreds of others for all the deliriously happy couples leaving the Northampton Court House waving marriage certificates, yet knew that the thing I’d fought so hard for was probably no longer an option for us.
Ironically, although we hadn’t been allowed to legally marry when we joined our lives, we were allowed to legally divorce.
Years later, I’m happily-ever-after married while waiting for the Federal government to acknowledge that my wife is my wife and that with my daughter, we are family. GET UP EVERYBODY AND SING. I won’t bore you with tales of our three-class family when it comes to health insurance and other benefits Uncle Sam doesn’t let me share, our more complex and expensive challenges when it comes to filing federal and state tax forms, our concerns about traveling, and more.
Instead, I want to describe what it’s like to realize each day that I’m living the happiest days of my life. Even in the coldest predawn hours when I’m deeply sleep deprived and know I only have three more minutes before I have to get out of bed, I wake next to my love, my best friend (who strategically places a mug of coffee next to me every morning before my brain even stumbles into consciousness and which is why I’m capable of remembering who I am much less getting my daughter out the door to the school bus at sunrise), and hold her tight, drinking in her presence, knowing that this kind, smart, funny, gorgeous, and wise woman is my wife.
And every time I ask her to marry me in Texas, she says yes.