Last night the New York State legislature finally passed a bill allowing same sex marriage. Martha and I watched it live on TV.
Not 5 minutes after the vote my mother called congratulating us and wondering when the wedding will be.
And then my sister called too.
Seven emails/texts already from friends asking the same thing. And I'm sure we will get the same congrats and inquiries as we move from Peachie's graduation today, a family wedding tomorrow and work on Monday. Friends and family will be very excited for us, as we are very excited for the gay community.
But I am not sure why everyone assumes we would marry. Okay, twenty two years together might indicate some kind of traditional permanence. And we did make a verbal commitment to each other years ago. And we both wear commitment rings to honor that. And we do share two children and our names are jointly on two houses and a few bank accounts. And we are both free to legally marry.
I did spend a lot of time lobbying for the legislation - my local democratic senator who has been on board since the beginning; the republican senator where our lake house is and this week he did change his vote from a no to a yes (yay!); and the senator from where I used to live, who I know really well - his uncle gave me my first job, and he used to be my boss when he sat on the City Council, and I occasionally watched his kids - so I harassed him constantly, sent him pictures of our family and explained how important it was for my children to have legal protections, etc. I even threatened to tell his wife that he was still sneaking cigarettes. But he still voted no. (boo!)
Still, working for marriage equality is not the same thing as wanting to be married. And sharing your life with someone for twenty two years is not the same thing as needing some formal recognition of that relationship.
Last night the bill was passed. Where we live the constant political maneuvering has been blaring everywhere, all week. It was hard to miss it. Yet Martha and I had not said one word to each other about it. Not even a teeny tiny question whether either of us would be interested. But then when we went to bed, the final vote recorded, she spooned up behind me and gently whispered the question “will marry me?”
Really? You want to be legally married?
We both realize that at this point it would not be to our advantage. Our daughters are getting some nice college financial aid because everything is based on Martha’s salary alone. So for the next few years, marriage would not make much financial sense. Not very romantic, I know, but a practicality with two kids in private schools.
After that? Who knows. It's a hard, confusing and conflicted question for me. Maybe. And it is wonderful that the choice is now ours to make. I didn’t give her an answer. But I do know my mother has been waiting a long time for Martha to make an honest woman of me.