A funny thing happened yesterday. After all these years of people referring to my wife as my “friend” or “roommate,” it finally came true – well, on paper anyway.
You see, we are in the process now of buying our first home together; a momentous event which is both thrilling and terrifying at the same time, something which makes us feel like real adults (who may even, (gasp!) be prepared to someday raise kids! But we’re not quite there yet.) Part and parcel of buying a home is procuring a mortgage (a process that ranks in enjoyability with going to the dentist…every day…for a month), and here’s where I am deeply confused.
Yesterday, we were presented with a form to fill out with neat, square boxes next to a variety of personal statuses (would “stati” be the correct plural form here? I never know with these things.) Amongst our choices were, “Single Woman,” “Unmarried Woman,” and “Married Woman.” The problem is, we are neither of the first two, but nor are we granted the status of “Married Woman” under the watchful eyes of the Federal Government and the State of California. We are like Bert and Ernie, great “friends” and great “roommates” (“Joint Tenants” in mortgage-speak) who just get along so swimmingly that we have decided to make a lifelong commitment to each other. (Luckily for Bert and Ernie, their joint tenancy carries on to this day due to the continued funding of public television.)
When I saw these neat, square boxes at my desk yesterday, I cried.
For five minutes, I sat hunched behind my computer screen, silently dropping tears as I stared at this form. I still cannot bring myself to tick the “Single/Unmarried Woman” and “Joint Tenant” boxes. I just can’t.
I am tired – no, absolutely exhausted – of being asked to politely undermine my marriage. And I sat staring at this inanimate piece of paper, crying and pleading, “Not you, too. Please, please – do not ask me to do this.”
And you know what the worst part is? The worst part is it’s not just mortgage forms or banal paperwork. The worst part is that it comes from some of the people in your life who say they love you the most. Sometimes they spout platitudes like, “I have nothing but love and compassion for gay people, but God’s word is clear on this issue.” To that, I query, “Really? What is your definition of love?”
I love my wife. For her, I would go to any distance and sacrifice anything I could to protect her and her happiness. Taking any measure to cause her pain or even displeasure is something I attempt to avoid at all costs. So, please, I am asking you: don’t throw around the word “love” so lightly. When you vote to deny our basic civil rights and cause us pain, that’s not love, is it? When you vote to repeatedly undermine our relationships, to tell us that our love is less deserving of legal recognition than your love – that’s not love, is it?
Let us please be honest: you don’t “love” gays. You’re uncomfortable with gays, and you think we do not deserve the same dignity that you do under our legal system.
I would certainly respect this type of honesty far more than the meaningless charades we play so easily, purporting to “love” each other as we slash each other’s equal rights. Wouldn’t you?