Monday, June 16, 2008
Less than a handful of people have asked if Domestic Partner and I are going to get married, now that the California Supreme Court has overturned the ban on same-sex marriages, last month. While I have been silently celebrating the progress made in this specific arena of civil rights, we have made no plans to get married. Neither of us has ever felt the need to have a civil union ceremony. We don't even have matching commitment bands the way other couples do.
It ain't broke, so we ain't a-gonna fix it.
Getting married would only complicate matters, it seems. When I hear the phrase, "the right to get married," my mind immediately thinks of "and the right to be just as dysfunctional as our parents," and "the right to get divorced, eventually." It doesn't seem worth any of the benefits marriage is supposed to provide, such as tax breaks. Paperwork can be written up and signed for such important matters as power-of-attorney when a partner dies, and for designating what happens to any assets.
Sorry, my straight friends, but I don't covet what you have.
Am I jaded? Maybe a little, by my two brothers' respective marriages and divorces. Maybe a lot, by the highly dysfunctional example of my parents' own marriage, which ended after thirty years. I have to consider that maybe it's just our family, though, that maybe we are not genetically geared for an emotionally-healthy, lifetime marriage.
I do know quite a few couples in first marriages that are still together. Some are happier than others, but not to the point that I feel as if I'm missing out on something. Maybe it's the area I live in, Southern California, Land of Rampant Divorce.
"But, Peter, what about love?" you may ask. Would it be fair to ask back, "What's love got to do with it?" I am discovering in my own relationship what I had been told by a couple of teachers, that marriage (or a domestic partnership) is more about economics and practicality than it is about love.
Domestic Partner and I are both in our forties. We are closing in on twelve years together, this fall. The fairytale ideals of our youth have long since faded. Besides, I have been known to be sentimental to a fault. As opposite as Domestic Partner and I are in personality traits, his fuddy-duddy common sense counterbalances me. He is my stability.
More than likely, I would have considered marriage to a man when I was younger. I have known one or two men that I would have considered marrying, before I had met Domestic Partner. The passion, both physical and emotional, had been wonderful during those younger years . . . while it lasted. Like a bright, burning flame, it was quickly ignited and then extinguished much too soon. Domestic Partner is more like a low-burning flame--not always exciting but at least consistent. I can depend on him.
I will support any of my gay friends who get married. I will be just as joyous for them as I am for my straight friends who get married. And whether their marriages are good or they are difficult, whether they work through their marital problems or they divorce, I will still love them and support them.
If I am able to grow old with Domestic Partner, I will be grateful at the end of my life, just as I am today.
What are your feelings, thoughts, opinions on same-sex marriage?