The marriage license bureau looked strange, and it didn’t take me long to realize why. All the couples, for all their nationalities and languages and family groupings and faces, were heterosexual.
There was a sign under the sign for marriage licenses. It was much longer and awkward. It read: domestic partner registration. What is that? we thought. We thought it sounded like a crime. There was no one in that line.
It wasn’t the same.
I have been married a week and I feel different. The world is different, not so loud. Taxis weave around us. The streets are shined. The sky keeps on almost snowing. Marriage is different than living together. Marriage is different than making a verbal commitment. So many smiles on the subway. People laugh out loud and shout: the fish man at the oyster bar, the library security guards, the neighbors. The old man nudges his wife. The nannies point. I keep noticing rings on fingers, flashes of gold that wink out, We did it too. We made it here.
It feels like the whole world is married. But it is not.
I won’t have this in common with my oldest friend, simply because he is a gay man. We can never share this. He deserves more.
If you are in love, you deserve to be able to make a public declaration of your love, whether you are a woman in love with a man or a woman in love with a woman. You deserve to have the rights and protection of your spouse and to keep your spouse protected. You deserve to be able to call her wife or to call him husband, out loud, in public. Loudly. You deserve to have the law say that too, to have a framed blue certificate above your two desks. You deserve to have the same name.
We didn’t want a big wedding. We didn’t want another blender, though a standing mixer would be nice, and hey, we are planning a honeymoon.
But really, the gift you can give us, world? You can vote and you can vote well. Let everyone feel this. Let everyone be allowed by the state, by the law, by the church, to stand up in front of all of those things and friends and family in the sunlight and say, hell yes.
Now that I know this, I know it is for all. Every person, woman or man, when asked by the security guard if they are all right, waiting outside on the steps, must be able to say, Oh yes. My husband is on his way.