First off, I am not a huge fan of marriage. I believe in long term committed relationships, I'm just not sure why we have to get the courts involved. Pieces of paper don't make someone love you more. I tried it , but after divorce number two I decided that perhaps I wasn't good at it and should take a different path. I think I don't look at it the proper way, or maybe I do look at it the proper way, and it is an archaic institution.
1. While my love is not conditional, the circumstances under which I will live with someone certainly are. I realized that I have never meant "till death do us part." I wanted to mean it, and I thought I meant it, but in my brain it was always "till death do we part, unless you treat me badly, go to jail justifiably,or become a addict, etc." I think many people think this way, they just don't admit it. We have the option of divorce in our society, and while it is isn't the ideal, with half of all marriages ending in divorce, it isn't looked down on the way it once was.
2. I think the relationship suffers when both people feel safe, also known as trapped. It is easy to stop trying to look your best for your partner, to stop being polite to one another, to stop attempting to share each other's interests, and to stop trying to surprise each other with little thoughtful moments. The idea that I don't have to do that anymore because we are married-be it shower regularly, say excuse me when I burp, buy you a present for a holiday, whatever- is toxic to relationships. People should be together because they want to, not because escape is too difficult. It is easy to drift into parallel lives cohabiting together but not really functioning together, but that was never what I wanted in life. If I was going to spend the rest of my life with a roommate, I would have chosen based on different criteria, like their love of cleaning and cooking and staying out of my hair, coupled with their furniture and electronic equipment.
3. I don't think marriage gives any security. Yes, you can get their social security after 10 years together, inheritance is easier and there are tax benefits if you are in the right bracket, but that's kind of it. Nowadays, many employers allow domestic partner's to be covered on health insurance and child support laws have made it practically impossible to be deadbeat dad. Besides, my mothers raised me to be a feminist, and I like feeling like I can support myself and kids, though perhaps not lavishly, certainly adequately. I wasn't raised to think I "needed" a man to take care of myself.
4. I will never change my last name again. I did it twice, and it was weird. I have no desire to give up my name for someone else. My parents did an incredibly awesome job of pairing my first and last names, and I don't think any person I chose based on love would randomly have a better one. Just listen…Only Mama…it's like music. Only Smith doesn't have the same ring to it. Now if I chose to marry based on name quality alone, I could be Only Fabulous, or Only Magical, but the chances of falling in love with someone with the proper name is unlikely. The man could take my name though, that would be just fine. Mr. and Mrs. Mama.
5. I do love me a good wedding. I love the dress, the flowers, the dress, the favors, planning the menu, the dress, shopping for all the tiny details, the dress. When it occurred to me that that much attention could be given to any party, say New Year's Eve or my upcoming birthday, I realized weddings and marriages could be separated, or more specifically, big awesome parties and marriages don't have to be sold as a package - you can have one without the other.
All that being said, that doesn't mean marriage isn't great for other people. I know a lot of couples who are happily married and to be honest, I do envy that. I don't think the piece of paper makes it more real or lasting, but I admire long term happy relationships, whether gay or straight. If you can find someone you are completely nuts about that is just as nuts about you, and you can coexist together without killing each other too much, you have won, whether you fit into the mold of what society thinks couples should look like or not.
If gay people want to marry, they should be able to. Anyone who wants to give marriage a shot should have the right to do so. I love the recent surge of pictures, icons, and posts on social media in favor of gay marriage. Growing up as a bullied child harassed by people intolerant of homosexuality, it makes my heart sing to see it, although it is harder to determine which of my friends is saying what on Facebook, because most of them have the same profile picture today.
Obviously, I have a bias, though it might not be the bias you expect. My two moms did everything they could to feel married. They had anniversary parties, renewed their vows about 50 times, got a civil union in Vermont, and a legal marriage in Canada. The right to marry is hugely important to them.
But there's another side, too. I know a lot of lesbian couples who exchange rings and get "married" after three weeks or so of being together. Most of the time this doesn't last, so they take their rings off and move on. Because I am not as sweet of a person as I would like you to believe, I think they should have to think about divorce and all the BS straight people do when they tell everyone they are married. They have just as much of a right to legal divorce as legal marriage. Ouch, I am a bad person, I told you.