I am awakened suddenly from a deep sleep. My eyes half open I see her bouncing jubilant face. Her joy is palpable..and I think to myself what day is it? Oh yeah…today is the day! A sleepy smile spreads across my face. Reality and lucidity setting in, I remove the earplugs that ensure my rest..and her half muted voice and my world are again high definition with surround sound. The hoots and hollers and bold exclamations are now heard throughout…it’s a great day here at the L House. The tv is on and the KTLA news team is keeping us abreast with minute by minute updates. They seem to enjoy reporting these particular SCOTUS rulings. Could it be that they are as excited as we are about this historic day for equality? Clearly, not everyone shares in our joy.
I turn to my beloved and hold out my hands to her and exclaim wife! …to which she takes my hands with hers and says to me wife!
Now I know you are all running for the hork bucket …but I share this because the terminology and status matter this much. Prior to this day although we referred to each other as such.. .we did so in private because our legal marital status was in question after the whole prop 8 campaign of hatred. Although we were married during the brief time when it was legal for same-sex couples to be married, same-sex marriages came to a screeching halt after that in the 2008 November election. So because marriages between same-sex couples were again illegal, even-though we were part of the percentage of legally married same-sex couples..we did not advertise it. We didn’t really hide it either, we even put it on facebook, but in certain situations it was just easier not to make an issue of it… so we didn’t.
Case in point… recently my wife had shoulder surgery. On all the medical forms she filled out she listed me as her spouse and her emergency contact. When I went to pick her up from recovery… the lady at the front desk called back to the recovery unit to announce that I was waiting. She said…. so and so’s mother is here to pick her up! Mother…really! Forget the fact that we are the same age… since my wife wasn’t sitting in front of her I can afford her the benefit of the doubt there, but she never even asked who I was. She simply inserted the association she was comfortable with. It was so rude! Truly…does it even matter who I was…if it made her uncomfortable could she not have just said so and so’s ride is here to take her home? Anyway… this was one of those times when I chose to be silent. Speaking up would have caused at best an uncomfortable exchange. All I cared about at that point was seeing that my wife was okay and getting her home. Luckily everyone except this particular lady were kind and respectful to both of us. I should have been able to say… ” I am her wife”, because that is the true nature of our association. No other term adequately describes what we are to each other. To say she is my girlfriend, life partner, domestic partner, are all terms that are considered less than ..and are unequal to the term and legal status of marriage. But at the time, I couldn’t say that…because same-sex marriages were still not being legally recognized in the state of California. That was just 3 weeks ago.
So today was a profound and emotional culmination of everything we have been through in the last 5 years in support of this fight. I am feeling particularly blessed. I hope one day we have equality nationwide, but for today…I will just sit back and be grateful to be able to call my wife…. wife! and know that we now have the same legal protections and status of every other loving married couple.