Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Day We Applied for a Marriage License

Today in Massachusetts many are celebrating the day 5 years ago when same-sex marriages became legal. On a personal level, this is the 5th anniversary of when we applied for a marriage license. We married 3 days later, after the waiting period expired.

Six months before May 17th, the state supreme court handed down the decision that gays could legally marry here in Massachusetts and gave the state 180 days to get its act together and prepare for the change. Our Governor, Mitt Romney (whose wife, coincidentally, has MS), fought tooth and nail from thereon to halt this change. There were other attempts from other quarters to stop it. They all failed.

Since I'd convinced Skip to "civil union" me in 2001, it was a foregone conclusion that we'd marry. I tracked the developments closely, selfishly, glad the decision from the supreme court seemed impossible for the naysayers to overturn. As the day approached, it seemed more and more likely that we'd actually be able to marry. But, first, we needed to get a marriage license.

At the time, we were pretty active in the local Unitarian congregation. Unitarians are Protestants, way out on the left fringe and typically have congregations filled with liberals. Our congregation was a typical Unitarian one. We also had a lot of lesbian couples. Many of us planned to get married after the law changed. The minister and some members of the congregation decided to have a little celebration and join those of us applying for licenses by coming with us to the town hall, which happened to be across the street from the church.

We all gathered at the church in the morning for breakfast and a little party. The minister gave roses to the couples who were getting hitched and spoke a few happy words (she loves rituals). Shortly after 9am (when town hall opened), we trooped en masse, straight and gay alike, across the street and descended on town hall. With about 5 lesbian couples and a straight couple already there to apply plus our entourage of supporters, we filled up the small clerk's office.

We took photos, filled out paperwork, smiled broadly and generally had a great time. In about an hour's time, Skip and I had completed our paperwork, paid the small fee and were ready to get hitched 3 days later.

When our minister told us she'd planned the license application event, I thought it was a bit "over the top" and unnecessary. It would have been just fine for Skip and me to head over to the clerk's office and apply for the license as just the two of us. Turned out, it was so much more fun and festive to have the congenial company and support of our fellow Unitarians.


Andy said...

Those Unitarians are a wild bunch! Congrats on the hitching part, although you didn't give much detail. Glad it worked out in the end, sorry it was so long a wait.


Cranky said...

Andy - we had to wait 3 days to get hitched, so I'll talk a bit about that on the 20th, our actual 5th anniversary.

Yep, those Unitarians are a wild bunch! Lucky for me. :-)