I’ve been thinking about marriage today–gay, straight, what have you. Fratguy and I have been in a civil union for 15 years. I think that’s the right term, as we were “married” by a notary (you can do that in Maine), but because we’re an opposite-sex couple, everyone calls us “married,” although neither of us wanted to darken the door of any church in the service of enacting our civil union.
But you get used to this kind of thing when you’re in a straight union–a lot of the time you benefit from other people’s assumptions about you. It means (for example) that you don’t have to carry around your marriage license as proof of your legal relationship. The words “husband” and “wife” really are magic in that respect–I’ve never been asked to prove it. My husband’s agreement about our status suffices.
Sometimes those assumptions are annoying–such as when other people lay their trip about what marriage is on you, and judge your marriage by their standards, not yours. (These assumptions are almost always about the behavior of women in marriages, not the men they’re married to. Men usually benefit from the assumptions people make about them as married men, even if those assumptions are totally wrong.)
In any case, this is all just a windup to direct you to go read Madwoman with a Laptop‘s thoughts on her 29 years with the woman whose wife she will never be, along with a really thoughtful analysis of civil unions, gay marriage, and her very intentional rejection of marriage and wifedom although her state now permits same-sex marriage. Continue Reading »