Friday, August 8, 2008

Legal marriage vs community marriage

I may be outing myself to some friends & family lurkers, but P and I: already married. Earlier this year we made the decision that I would go back to school to pursue midwifery. Being on call all the time, I couldn't really work and P's insurance wouldn't cover us as domestic partners in California, since our state doesn't recognize opposite-sex domestic partners. So, we decided that it wasn't worth the worry of me not having any health insurance, knowing we were going to get married anyway, and got hitched at city hall. My parents and sister were there as witnesses. And since we've told a few other people. But this whole time we've been planning this other wedding. What we now refer to as the "fake-real" wedding.

And really, while I like the legal benefits that have come from being married (the health insurance and the easily buying a home together) for most purposes we don't feel married. Since the people around us don't know that we are, nobody treats us like we are.

I was browsing through Wedding Bee the other day and came across the Our United State post on the point of marriage. I loved this section:

We need other people to survive. If something happens to one of us, we are not living in a vacuum, a happy unit of two charging against the world. I no longer only have the support of my family, but his family as well, which is, of course, no longer my family and his family but our family. And that support is not really optional. Families, unlike knitting clubs and drinking buddies, have a binding responsibility for one another.

That is how I view marriage. Marriage is responsibility. And not just for us to be responsible for each other but for society to be responsible for us.

...we are getting married because we are asking for you to be responsible for our union. And that's an intuitive thing. If your best friend tells you he's breaking up with his girlfriend, you'd be curious and maybe a little concerned but it's his life and it isn't working out. But if he tells you he's thinking of divorcing his wife? He better have a damn good reason. Emerson is not my boyfriend. And we want you to know that.

Does legal marriage have its perks? Yup. And everyone should be able to benefit from those. But does having a piece of paper from the state make me feel married? Not really. For that, I think I need my community to share in the process and take responsibility for us as a couple.

This is really all a lead in to why on earth we've decided, as non-quaker, non-religious folks, to have a quaker wedding ceremony at our fake-real wedding. But that post will have to wait, as my half-husband and I are off to dinner.


Anonymous said...

Yay Quaker-stuff!

Blind, Irish Pirate said...

This is an intriguing perspective, one that I think that most people tend to overlook. Maybe most people = me, but either way you look at it, it makes sense and really gets down to the heart of the reason you have a wedding in the first place. It's not about the swag and stuff... it's intimacy and spirituality formed from the people who care about you most.

Luis said...

Very well put. We are in the same situation as you, except we got married because the people of California might take that right away in November. However we wanted to have the wedding we wanted on a date that meant something to us, so our wedding will be in May'