Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Marriage is More Than a Word

13 years together.
5 years in a civil union.
1 day of marriage.

I actually never believed I would see this day. After all, I've known I was gay since I was in the 7th grade. Being a gay teen in Texas, marriage was for my straight friends who would marry their high school sweethearts. This gay man would have to be content sitting in the pews as a witness to others, serving in wedding parties or singing at ceremonies. Skip forward several years when I was in my early 30s, (after I had already had a few relationships in my 20s) and I met a man that changed how I viewed - well, everything. We took it slowly. Even the part of living together. And then when New Jersey allowed for civil unions, we decided to have one on 08/08/08. The closest thing we'd ever have to a marriage - but it worked for us. After all, we felt married at that point even if the rest of the world didn't view it in the same manner. 

We witnessed gay friends marrying in states that allowed it and even though New York was just over a bridge, we decided not to marry in another state until it was available where we lived. And God knows New Jersey kept trying, but governor vetoes would knock it down. We had certain rights with our civil union, but there was still this sense we were not equal. We'd still have to write single on forms and as I've mentioned in other blogs - come out over and over. 

And then all of a sudden a judge declares same-sex couples can marry in our state and the governor says he's no longer going to fight it and I was completely overwhelmed while reading the news. Sitting on a beautiful hill in Puerto Vallarta, reading the new on my phone that it was actually legal now in my own state - I couldn't hold back the tears. Tears because it never occurred to me I would be able to share in what so many others have. And so...there was no proposal. There was no getting down on one knee. After all we've been together for 13 years. We simply looked at each other and decided we wanted to make it legal. No big ceremony. Just paperwork. 11/12/13. At least  it would be a date we'd recall just as we had picked 08/08/08 previously.

We returned from our trip to Mexico and walked up to the immigration/customs counter together in New Jersey - holding our separate declaration forms. The gentleman asked if we were married and again, I had to say "No...but we will be in two weeks." He noticed we had the same address, ripped up one declaration form and said "it's legal in this state, you only need one form." That small gesture felt so huge to me - I can't even describe it. A complete stranger recognized us as a couple and it meant more than I can even say.

For me, that's what marriage is. We are recognized. We are no longer invisible. I do not need to stumble over words describing my partner. He is my husband. He is my best friend. He is the person that makes me happiest in the whole world and like all of my straight friends and family members, I can have the same rights in my relationship that they have. And I didn't need someone else to vote to allow me to marry. But boy, it sure feels sweet that after so much time together, I feel whole with him.

Nothing changes and everything changes.

A new life begins for us...or should I say, the old life just got a little more clear.

21 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Greg and Anthony, going to say it again that I am beyond happy for you two and for everybody who loves somebody to share their lives together in marriage as it should be. Congrats again xoxo
      Joni

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    2. Thank you, Joni!! So appreciate those words!

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    3. Wow Greg; you will know who this is by the end of this; let me start off by saying congratulations. I am not surprised, I am just happy that you both are happy (or should I say "happier") now that it is FINALLY official. I have stood in the shadows, watched you both from-a-far, and actually learned so much. I learned not about love; I learned about 2 guys who were in love, trying (I guess) to get used to all the stereotype attitudes that people have toward gay people. I must say that you guys taught me it was /is OK to be different when most people would put you down; the strange thing is they would put you down just for being yourself. It's hard to believe that a few years ago, I was one of those people, but thanks too you both I no longer am. Again; congratulations to both of you, and THANKS; THANKS for teaching me. P.S. I officially welcome you to our family; take care of my baby brother (Hint).

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    4. Thank you Brother. Your words mean so much to us.

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    5. What amazing words, David. Thanks for sharing those with us. (And I promise to take care of him.) :-)

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    6. you guys are killing me... I love David's reply so much. thank you for sharing this, Greg! I love you all xoxo ~ TLH

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    7. Thanks TLH! (Though I'm racking my brain to figure out who is TLH.) :-)

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    8. What an encouraging story; I am overwhelmed. True joy and an abiding love are gems in life. Long cherished lives together, guys.

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    9. Thank you, Terry. Appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

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  2. Beautifully said - I'm so happy for both of you!

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  3. congratulations greg and anthyony !!!!!!!!!!! I am so happy for you !!!!!

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  4. First, I want to congratulate both of you! I can so relate to your post and the recognition of marriage being more than a word. When I married my (now ex-husband) the world changed for me. My co-workers who supported same-sex marriage threw me a wedding shower, something I never thought I would have (at least at work!) I felt validated! I felt equal! I was overwhelmed with emotions. Some of the photos even made it onto our end of year photo collage played at our end of year banquet. I felt I was now truly one of the faculty, after twenty-five years.

    I wish you years of happiness!

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    1. Thank you, Jeff. I know you can relate to it all.

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