You are legal strangers to each other… Jodi is a legal stranger to her daughter … You can’t get married … You can’t get a civil union … You can get a civ… no, they shut down the government to prevent it …You can get a civil union …You are legal strangers to the federal government … Jodi can officially adopt her daughter … Courts say you have the right to get married … Courts say you must wait and see what the highest court says … You can get married – but only in Boulder … The highest court chooses to say nothing … You can get married … You’re planning a wedding for October … Another court says you shouldn’t be able to … The highest court says they want to say something now … The highest court will say something by June … The wedding in October may or may not mean anything – legally, anyway….
It’s exhausting sometimes.
I find it hard to believe that heterosexual people can relate to this feeling of having their lives, families and relationships jerked around to this degree. That other people can understand listening to debates where they scrutinize you like you’re not actually human, like they’re discussing a science project … or a criminal. What it’s like to listen to lawyers and politicians discuss whether you are in fact harmful to children – while you’re trying so hard to raise your own well. When you are a person riddled with self-doubt and occasionally self-loathing, these debates give power to the tiny little voice in the back of your mind that will ask you while you’re looking at your daughter, “Are you so sure you’re not harmful to her?”
Last year, we chose October 17, 2015 for our wedding because October 17th was the same day Jodi was finally able to officially adopt the Divine Miss M, after already being her mother for years (though according to Oklahoma, she’s still not a ‘mother,’ listing Jodi as her ‘father’ instead). Choosing that date for the wedding seemed like a good day to complete our family. Bringing it full circle, so to speak. Plus, we like the idea of a fall wedding, even if October is risky weather-wise for Colorado.
And so we started planning. We looked at venues and places, decided on outdoors, talked about wedding cakes. I started researching bakers, planning colors, considering wedding cake flavors, discussing vows, looking at pictures of wedding cakes, picturing a certain blonde and sassy cousin as our flower girl, thought about having cake toppings on the side, looking at fall flowers, choosing Save-the-Date cards, and have I mentioned the cake? Yes, yes, I do have an insatiable sweet tooth, why do you ask? Anyway, I was having loads of fun planning for all the things.
And then the Sixth Circuit happened. When they became the first (and so far only) Circuit Court to uphold marriage equality bans, I knew that SCOTUS would pretty much have to agree to hear the cases and therefore, our ability to get married might be quickly extinguished. Given the lateness of the Sixth Circuit’s ruling, I knew the case would be heard late in the Supreme Court’s term and therefore, we’d be facing another looooong month of June as we await the decision. We all knew these things, we’ve been on this ride awhile now. Plus, you know, we are lawyers, after all.
When people are left feeling so completely powerless to control their own destiny, it’s funny how differently they will react.
After the Sixth Circuit’s ruling and then especially after SCOTUS granted cert, I started petitioning Jodi for an alternative. I proposed that we get legally married on May 1st, not a completely irrelevant date as it is the same day as our civil union, but have the ceremony in October. That way, we will be married regardless of what SCOTUS has in store for us at the end of June. In my mind, this feels like gaining some sort of control over this situation and not leaving the fate of our family in the hands of the Roberts court, because no. In Jodi’s mind, however, “If you change your date and plans, then you’re letting them control it.” To which my response, delivered in a high-pitch voice just full of all kinds of neuroses, “Um, if they take the right away then they pretty much have controlled it!”
Well, we didn’t fall in love because we always think alike.
We are neither of us right nor wrong, of course, we just view it differently. We’ll have to find our compromise. (The never-ending joys of compromise – welcome to grown-up relationships.)
I give very little energy anymore to wondering and/or debating why people are opposed to gay marriage. Instead, at least right now, I keep thinking about how exhausting and discouraging it is at times to have our lives and rights so constantly in flux.
I should be focusing on planning our wedding. I know how lucky I am to have someone like Jodi who wants to marry me, build a life with me, raise a daughter who is equally amazing and gracious, so difficult. And I am still planning, of course. Just last night we decided who we wanted to ask to officiate. But now it’s all done in the shadow of uncertainty, which is the absolute worst thing for a control freak like myself. I have to shake that off and just focus on the commitment part of the ceremony, all the joyous aspects of sharing the day with friends and family, regardless of everything else.
Plus, Jodi’s family has a particular proclivity for fun wedding receptions. So, there’s that.