Marriage is Forever
It has felt very strange to be out of the state while history is being made in Utah. I would have loved running down to the Weber County Courthouse to help officiate the long awaited weddings that took place there yesterday. Someone asked me on Facebook if I would have been first in line if I were there. My answer was, of course: “No, I am already married and marriage is forever.” Yes, I know, people can get divorced, but they will still have been married – forever. It is amazing to me that some of my friends have been married to each other multiple times, in different countries and in different states. I don’t think it is considered bigamy if you keep marrying the same person over and over again, but it does seem odd to me. It nothing else, it is a lot of anniversaries to remember.
My life partner (now wife) and I have only two anniversaries. One is July 12. We were legally wed on July 12, 2013 in San Rafael, CA. The other is January 3. We began our relationship as a couple on Jan. 3, 1975. Since then, we have owned 3 different homes, lived in three different states, had three biological children, and cared for three foster children. We will have a big wedding ceremony and reception on January 3, 2014, also in San Rafael. We will exchange vows and rings, cut a cake, toss bouquets, and dance to a DJ’s music. The minister who is officiating is the Reverend Janie Sparr, the first minister we met as a couple and one of the most courageous and loving people I know. She has been working within the Presbyterian Church for decades, trying to promote love and acceptance for all.
I followed her into the ministry, but as a Unitarian Universalist minister, not a Presbyterian. Unitarian Universalists have a very long history of support for equality for LGBT people, so the work I have done in that area has largely been in the wider community.
If we had been in Utah this week, rather than in California preparing for that big wedding ceremony of ours, we would have been been at a Utah courthouse. I would have signed a lot of marriage licenses and we both would have cheered all the newlyweds. Love is sweet. It is worth celebrating. If we hadn’t done the legal thing in California last July, we would have been in the line to be married as well.
But marriage is forever and that fact is recognized and understood here in California. In Utah that is still not true as the governor there is fighting to have all those sweet marriages declared null and void. He calls it chaos. Utah County continues to defy the court order and is refusing to issue marriage licenses to same gender couples. That is chaos, I suppose, but it is a chosen chaos. I do understand that much of Utah is in shock at the court’s decision. I am in shock too. Who could have imagined before this week that Utah would have marriage equality before a state like Oregon? Who could have imagined that this would happen in a state where people can be fired or evicted simply because to their sexual orientation or gender identity?
Utah never took any steps down that so-called “slippery slope,” but this week, more than a few hang gliders were able to fly free, catching the updraft of a brand new day. Hand in hand, their marriages, too, will be forever. Blessed Be.