Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Civil Union Anniversary

Today is the 8th anniversary of our civil union in Vermont in 2001, one of 3 anniversaries we celebrate.

I never invested much thought in getting married once I realized I was gay, but the passage of Civil Unions in Vermont gave me hope. Soon after they were legalized, I started asking Skip to "civil union" me and, amazingly, she eventually said yes!

So began the search for a suitable spot for the event. Back in the day when Skip was ambulatory, we used to spend a fair number of weekends at a lovely inn in Vermont, and wanted to find a similar spot for our union; of course, now it would need to have a handicapped-accessible room for us.

I'm not quite sure how we found the place, but after much searching on the Internet and calling around, we found an inn with about 14 rooms, one accessible, that was near Brattleboro, VT and 3 hours from our home. In November 2000, we spent a night there to ensure the room would really meet Skip's needs and to check out the place overall, to make sure we could host our civil union there.

For the civil union, we took over the place for the entire weekend. We were joined by my parents, siblings and some of their kids, 2 of Skip's 4 brothers (her parents are dead) and some of their kids and grandkids, our closest friends and our minister from home and her husband. Maybe 25 folks all told.

The weather was beautiful all weekend. Unseasonably warm and comfortable for Vermont in April. Sunny and lovely as well. I had anticipated a "mud season" mixed bag of weather, but we got a beauty.

When I first contemplated getting civilly unioned, I'm not quite sure why I wanted to do it. One rationale was a desire to have as much legal connectedness with Skip as possible; I worried someday we might have some kind of hospital visitation/decision-making issues and looked for any kind of legal legitimacy I could find. Granted, our legal status in VT ended the moment we crossed the state line.

Maybe I was looking for a public declaration of our love. And that is what we most definitely got.

It was an absolute outpouring of love and support that we got from family and friends. The weekend, and especially the civil union ceremony, were so affirming for us. My father read "The Road Less Traveled" during the ceremony, getting quite choked up. Skip's brother, a Deacon in the Catholic church, spoke movingly of the love he had for us and the appreciation Skip's family has for me and all I do for her. (He is permanently cemented in my mother's affections as a result.)

The ceremony and the weekend went off without a hitch. I felt like one of the luckiest people on earth. It was a highlight of my life.

In May, I'll write a post about our wedding in 2004 ... 3 days after it became legal.

7 comments:

LISA EMRICH said...

Happy Anniversary and looking forward to the Wedding Post.

I've been reading you through Google Reader and hadn't noticed the updated Profile on the right. This is the first (that I noticed) reference to your own gender. I'm glad that you've shared a bit of your history with Skip with us. Thank you.

steve said...

Congratulations, Cranky and Skip!

Cranky said...

Lisa - Thanks for the good wishes. I enjoyed writing the post and thinking about that wonderful weekend, so am glad you enjoyed the read.

Steve - thanks!

awb said...

Happy Anniversary to you both. In this day and age it is heart warming to hear of peoples love for each other, thanks for sharing it.

Andy

Cranky said...

Thanks, Andy! Much appreciated.

MS. ME said...

Hadn't checked your site in a while and mucho CONGRATS!!! My partner and I are going to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada in May - we're getting hitched there and then returning home to family and a reception dinner! We can't wait!!! Again, congrats and can't wait to read the wedding post!!

Cranky said...

MS ME - congrats back to you! I hope the experience of the wedding and reception back in TX are as wonderful as our civil union weekend. I look forward to reading about it.