So the Gare Bear and I have been married 32 years as of today. The first three words he said to me were "I love you," and I hope those will be the last three words I say to him. Words are my stock in trade, but I have none to express how truly grateful I am to have this beautiful, funny, intelligent man in my life.
Over the past three decades, we raised two children to responsible, dynamic adulthood. We've traveled the world together, negotiated the treacherous territory of cancer and chemotherapy, and lived together for several months on a fire tower almost entirely cut off from civilization. We've debated politics and fought over money. We keep gaining and losing the same 50 pounds. We're still into each other. Still onto each other. The only thing we're religious about is doing the New York Times crossword puzzle together every morning.
We don't have a good marriage; we are a good marriage.
This is a concept people who oppose marriage equality don't get. (Along with the concepts of civil rights, science, separation of church and state, and MYOFB.) As irritating as she is, I feel bad for their new patron saint, Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk being lauded for defying the Supreme Court decision to recognize the civil right of any legal adult to marry the legal adult with whom s/he feels at home. The concept of marriage Davis is supposedly championing doesn't include the kind of marriage Gary and I live in. Our marriage is not sacred to us because God said so; our marriage is sacred to us because we said so, and our public commitment to keeping it that way entitled us to the legal and financial benefits of marriage.
Now, 32 years hence, I see the accidental wisdom in that. I still can't quantify exactly what marriage means, but I know this isn't about one man and one woman--insert Tab A into Slot B--this is about One Gary and One Joni. He is who he is, I am who I am, and what we are together is We Are. There is no other marriage like ours, because every marriage is unique. That's part of what makes each marriage precious.
I'm not saying she doesn't understand or respect marriage because she's never had a good one. I'm saying she doesn't understand or respect marriage because she doesn't understand or respect people. She doesn't understand or respect the scripture she spouts. She doesn't understand or respect the laws that govern the public office she holds. Marriage is way above her pay grade. All she does is sign the paperwork. If that makes her feel powerful, well, add that to the list of things she is bombastically wrong about.
Until that day, I think it's important for heterosexual couples who thrive in solid traditional marriages to keep speaking up for the civil rights to which all people are entitled. So here's me and the Grizz. My Gare Bear. The love of my life. My husband, for better or worse, till death do us part.
We believe in marriage. That's why we believe in marriage equality.