Two women seeking equality in a state where some couples are more equal than others.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Finally, Almost?

It finally happened! A judge in Michigan struck down the constitutional ban on gay marriage in the DeBoer v. Snyder case.

This is so much progress, and very exciting, but it's hard to feel that this has an end. For one thing, I haven't heard what will happen with second parent adoption, something that is critical for LGBT families to have true equality. For another, the attorney general is appealing and requesting a stay. What has happened in other states in this situation is that the state has managed to put marriages on hold indefinitely, suspending rights that should be granted. This can leave people in limbo, particularly if some people manage to get married before the stay and others have weddings planned but don't get to execute them.

In Rebecca and my case, there's another question. Since we didn't wait for legal marriage in Michigan, what happens? Will our California marriage be considered valid? Or do we need to have a third wedding?

I have been congratulated by multiple straight people, and I'm trying to be grateful, but I wish they could understand what it feels like to know that this could be taken away from us before it's made permanent. And that's ridiculous. Outrageous. Preposterous. If marriage is a civil rights issue, how is it moral or ethical to decide that we should have it and then take it away? What happens if one of us ends up hospitalized or worse in this limbo period? When will we finally feel good about having children? When can we file our taxes together like a normal married couple?

Don't these judges and lawyers realize that families are at stake here?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Marriage Certificates and Civil Rights

Our marriage certificate arrived from Riverside County today! (Well, certificates, actually - we  ordered two since we're both changing our names.) I'm overwhelmed with joy. It's validating to have a piece of paper that says I'm officially married. That says that I can file my taxes with my spouse. That says that I would inherit her assets if something happened to her. That says that I would make medical decisions for her. That says that I could benefit from her Social Security someday.

That may help me be on her health insurance. That should help us get our names changed. That would mean we could adopt together if we were in a state with second-parent adoption.

I'm also angry. I'm angry that I had to go all the way to California to get a marriage certificate, because my home state, the one we've both grown up in, the one where we fell in love and became a family, the one where we got our educations, wouldn't issue us a marriage license. I'm angry that Michigan didn't consider us equal, or deserving, of that right.

I'm angry that I feel this piece of paper matters, since most of the straight couples I know don't think about their marriage certificate or the rights it bestows. I'm angry that even with this piece of paper, I know people who don't believe that I'm married. I'm angry that a member of my family told me that I shouldn't get married in California because Michigan wouldn't accept my marriage certificate. I'm angry that she didn't think about federal benefits of marriage, even though she's married, because straight people don't have to.

And it is at this point that I recommit to doing what I can to making marriage equality a reality in Michigan. This year, I took the step of coming out to my family, even though that proved disastrous. I hope that when they think about oppressing the LGBT community, they remember that means oppressing me.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Invitations

A tiny number of invitations went out in the mail Monday. By tiny, I mean, fewer than 20. Given that this is a destination wedding and that we already had a (still fairly small) wedding and reception, we didn't want to overdo it. This is because of budget. And because we're too busy to plan anything larger. And because we're not trying to upstage our previous wedding.

Now I wait for RSVPs to both the ceremony in Palm Desert and the family gathering in Lansing. I'm not sure what to expect out of these RSVPs, given that this is not a typical wedding situation and given that my family is not super supportive of me being a lesbian. I hope that they'll surprise me, though.

Curious about the invitation? We went with a kraft paper card accented with an aqua hand-dyed lace doily, and purple calligraphy text in a purple envelope with aqua accents. Very different from our hand-painted amate art on the last set, but lovely nonetheless.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Committing in CA

We're going to California this New Year's to get a marriage license.

I had hoped it wouldn't come to this. I had hoped that there would be some reasonable sign that Michigan would have marriage equality. There's a glimmer coming, in February, but nobody really knows what to expect.

And we're adults now. We're thinking about buying houses and having children and making more than the poverty lines. We need our affairs to be in order. We can't wait indefinitely, and we shouldn't have to.

So we're having a tiny ceremony in Palm Desert in January. It's not going to be a copy of the one we had before. That one counted before God and the people who support us. This one is mostly for legal purposes, although we will have photos taken and will have a very small gathering once we get back to Michigan.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Anniversary

Okay, so it is not really my anniversary. In fact, my anniversary was almost a month ago. I haven't updated this blog in more than a year. Here's what's happened in the meantime:

Rebecca and I moved to Wyandotte, Michigan. If you've never heard of this place, the best way to describe it's location is for me to tell you that you could get in a boat on the river in downtown Detroit and float down the river to downtown Wyandotte.

Rebecca started her third year of medical school at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital.

I worked as a teaching assistant in a summer enrichment program in southwest Detroit. I also got certified as a GRE instructor for the Princeton Review and became an aunt.

I applied for and interviewed for numerous jobs for the fall. Eventually, the only full-time one that materialized worked out to be at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. This is a 75 minute or more drive from Wyandotte.

The job at OU ended up being less than ideal and I had a health crisis, so I left. A job actually using my MA TESOL opened up in Madison Heights and Oak Park. These are cities in southern Oakland County that are about a 45 minute drive from Wyandotte. While these jobs were less than ideal, they were an improvement in every way over the job at OU, so I tried to be grateful.

In the meantime, I got certified as an ACT instructor for the Princeton Review.

The ESL school year ends this week and I'll be trying to make a living teaching test prep for the Princeton Review.

In January, I was accepted to do a Ph.D. in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education at Michigan State University. In August, we'll be moving back to East Lansing.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Debriefing

It's been a couple days since the ceremony, and Rebecca and I are still glowing with joy. It was an absolutely beautiful day (okay, not weather-wise, but it cleared up when it was important) with so many of our loved ones there. The pictures are wonderful (thanks to our photographer, Jacopo Tarantino), the food was delicious (shout out to the Gone Wired Cafe), and the cake was amazing (credit to Roseanne Sherwood of Nana's Sweet Treats). We also greatly appreciate the support of our minister, Kari Nicewander of Edgewood United Church of Christ in East Lansing.

Our ceremony was a mix of traditional and non-traditional elements. Our vows were as traditional as we could make them, because we found an elegance and strength in that, so they read:

" I, Erin, take you, Rebecca, to be my beloved partner in life, to cherish and honor from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, so long as we both shall live."

On the other hand, rather than a sand ceremony or unity candle, we had a dream jar ceremony. Both of us have a cleaned-out plastic peanut butter jar decorated with the word "Dreams," and we placed inside small slips of paper with hopes, dreams, and wishes for the future. We decided that when we got married, it was no longer appropriate for us to keep those separate, since we were committing to a lifetime together. So we bought a larger glass jar and then had the following liturgy:

" Rebecca, I will cherish your dreams, just as I cherish mine, that together, we might make our dreams into a reality."



One of the staff members at the cafe told us that the dream jars were the most salient element of the ceremony for him, and it certainly was meaningful to us too, especially as our life is in transition and we're learning to make sacrifices for each other.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tomorrow is Go Time

I can't believe it, but the ceremony is tomorrow! We have the rehearsal dinner tonight - lasagna, salad, and rhubarb pie at Gone Wired. We've also picked up food for lunch tomorrow. We're going to have quite a house full! Most of the guests of honor are coming, as are Rebecca's parents and an out-of-town aunt and uncle.

I have a feeling that I'm forgetting some things, but I'm hoping that it won't matter in the end.