Thursday, October 16, 2008

Yes, Readers, We Married

Yes, readers, we married.

September 3, 2008, on the 14th anniversary of Nancy moving into my home, we exchanged marriage vows in the enormous rotunda of San Francisco City Hall. We thank all the Californians who made it possible, including my sister Vicki and her husband Ric, our official witnesses.

Even before saying “I do,” we felt an unexpected, delightful consequence of marriage: people’s happiness for us. From the young San Francisco car rental agent to the middle-aged couple from Ohio behind us on the bus, from waiters to Bay Area friends and family members, people shared in our joy. Of course, we were beaming so much that they may not have been able to help themselves…but still, it was is amazing how such deep affection bubbles up from people when someone gets married.

Another impact is that we are now part of an official social structure. We are in-laws in each other’s families. Our relatives know what to call us when making introductions. Ric coaches Nancy on strategies for coping with the Bohan clan (don’t mention peaches!). The legal binds make for stronger familial ties.

Now that we’re back in Minnesota, a state that does not recognize our marriage, a bit of the glow is off. Yet, when we tell people we recently got married in California, they break into grins and congratulate us. Maybe some of the folks we tell don’t approve of same-sex marriage, but good manners—and perhaps a deep-in-the-bone response to such a basic social institution—win out.

I find that I want to share the news of our nuptials with everyone. Not only are we showered with good wishes, questions about the wedding, and requests to see our rings. Coming-out-as-married also helps raise consciousness. We are part of a sea-change, and bit by bit, the power of prejudice is evaporating before our eyes—and before the reality of the hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples getting married every place we’re allowed to -- in California, Massachusetts, Canada, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, and hopefully, soon, even in Minnesota.

In that case, perhaps Nancy and I will do it all over again!