I do. We did. We are.

As part of the week of LGBTQ Pride events in the greater Capital District this week, the First Unitarian Society of Schenectady will be showing the film “Tying the Knot” tonight.

Jeffrey and I have been invited to attend and host a question and answer period after the movie, to discuss our marriage journey and efforts to have our marriage(s) legally recognized, as well as answer questions the audience may have about marriage equality and same-sex marriages. (See the ad from their newsletter posted below. The pics are of FUSS members at the recent marriage equality rally on the lawn of the state capital, across the street from my work.  Yes, I was there.)

This church has made a commitment recently to speaking out and fighting for marriage equality for the members of their community that are treated unequally under the law. A few months ago, they performed a service and told our story, but we were unable to attend. Our friend, Marta, refers to us as “The most married gay couple in America” because Jeffrey and I have gotten hitched six times in our (almost) 14 years together:

 08/21/98 Domestic Partner Registry Albany, NY

10/02/09 Wedding Albany, NY

09/15/00 Civil Union Bennington, VT

06/05/04 Solemnization of vows New Paltz, NY

05/28/05 Marriage Provincetown, NY

09/02/06 Marriage Toronto, CA

It is discouraging that we still have to have theses discussions and debates, and that we are still without our legal marriage equality; but it’s encouraging that we have been invited to speak about it, and that we’re making progress, slowly but surely.  I have hopes our marriage will be legally recognized before we die.

Please note that, for the record, I very specifically did not say that “we are still not allowed to get married.” That would be a falsehood. We did get married.  We are married. He is my husband and I, his. No law or government body or social group or religion could prevent us from getting married or can prevent us from being married. The only thing the law can do is refuse to recognize it and prevent us from obtaining the 1500 or so rights, benefits and protections that come with the privilege of being in opposite-sex marriages in New York State.

But even without those rights, we can and should get married if we have a partner we want to make that commitment to. We should recite those vows, wear those rings, and marry those we wish to love, care for and protect for the rest of our lives. Even before and without the legal recognition. Because our marriages are not subject to others approval. We do not need permission to marry our loved ones. And not having those rights and benefits makes us no less married than anyone else and shouldn’t.

If we do not believe that, if we allow others to convince us otherwise, if we do not show and demand respect and acknowledgement for our own marriages, require our friends and peers to recognize our husbands and wives as our spouses in fact, even if not in law, and show proper respect for our relationships, how can we possibly expect anyone else to?

We need to stop fighting for the right to get married. We can already do that and we do – everyday. We need to fight to have our existing marriages recognized.

There’s a huge difference.

This entry was posted in Gay Pride, Marriage. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to I do. We did. We are.

  1. Urspo says:

    Wow !!
    what valor !!

  2. Buddy Bear says:

    I didn’t know you and Jeffrey had been married in Toronto. That must have been very exciting and wonderful! Toronto is great! Your marriage there was in fact a real legally-binding marriage, just like the marriages that millions of Canadians have. Your Canadian marriage gave you the same full rights enjoyed by every Canadian couple, enshrined in our constitution and validated by the Supreme Court of Canada.

    It must be very bittersweet for you that your Canadian marriage is not recognized in your home country!!

  3. Thom says:

    Excellent! I’m looking forward to reading about how the evening went. Those Unitarians are good people!

  4. I wish I could be there. It does include cosmos afterwards, doesn’t it? I too, admire you!

  5. Robin says:

    Congratulations on being invited to speak (again). How wonderful for you both, and your community. I wish I could be there in the audience. I need to understand the difference between “marriage” and “marriage equality.” I’m not quite understanding how if you are “married” it’s not recognized. When you have some time (ha,ha) for a “short answer” I would love to hear from you. I can also do some googling. Much Love to you and Jeffrey!

    • sassybear says:

      Robin: Because the state of NY and the Federal Government (thanks, muchly, to DOMA) does not legally recognize us as married, we are denied 1300+ rights and benefits that heterosexual couples automatically get when they get married. For example, Jeffrey and I cannot inherit each others social security benefits if one of us passes away. We cannot file taxes jointly and are denied any tax breaks for married couples, If we enter into a retirement home or care facility for the elderly, we can be legally separated to different facilities (married straight couples are usually kept together.) We do not have automatically access to each other in hospitals or the right to make medical decisions for one another. Jeffrey and I can not gift each other unlimited amounts of moeny like other married couples without paying heavy fines. We are not allowed to select married on most state or federal forms and are forced to register as single. Etc Etc

  6. Cubby says:

    Good luck. I sure am hoping the Marriage Equality legislation passes in New York.

  7. Raybeard says:

    Your bravery is no doubt giving courage to many others who might otherwise have preferred to keep low-profile. I’m VERY impressed indeed. You SHOW them, S/b!!!

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