In my younger days I was “Mr Marriage Booster”. I loved the institution of marriage and I took every opportunity to extoll its virtues. To me, being married is what a loving couple did as an expression of their love for each other and in so doing, solemnized their bond to each other publicly and without reservation. It was how couples would “conquer the world” together. Of course, being deeply in the closet at the time, marriage to me was the sole purview and domain of straight couples. I don’t think I even dreamed of the concept being applied to same sex couples.
My infatuation with marriage came to a grinding halt when I suddenly found myself without one. My wife made it very clear one day that our marriage of 19 years was over. It was a shattering experience and changed my outlook completely. My view on marriage had soured and I looked upon it with disdain and cynicism.
As I’ve written before, the failure of my marriage became the catalyst for me stepping out of the closet and I began to explore my new-found sexual liberty. I immersed myself in learning about life as a gay man and occasionally, I would find myself in discussions about gay marriage. I encountered the naysayers, the gay folk that believed marriage is too “straight” a concept for gay people and should be left to hetero’s and I encountered the same-sex marriage proponents that yearned for the same right to marry that everyone else had. Still, after much discourse and thought, I hadn’t personally formed an opinion about whether same sex couples should be able to marry, let alone exercise that right. For me, I was quite certain I was done. I made sure everyone I met knew that I “will never cohabitate with anyone again and I will never marry again”. Period.
In the intervening years, I have decided that same-sex couples have the intrinsic right to marry, even if the law doesn’t allow for it. Simply put, the law must change and I’m happy to note that I live in a country that recognized this inherent right some years ago. Regardless of my evolved support for gay marriage, my cynicism about the institution itself hadn’t waned. I still didn’t understand why anyone would want to get married, even if they could.
I’ve learned over the years to “never say never”. And even when I was saying “I will never . . .”, I knew deep down within my cerebral cortex that “never” was not necessarily sustainable. My intent to remain unencumbered for the rest of my life began to weaken when I met my soul mate, Bill.
The first test of my resolve came in the second year of our relationship. As now, we lived in separate homes that are about 30 minutes apart, but as it happened that Christmas, we both had two weeks’ vacation over the holiday season. I ended up staying at his place the whole two weeks. It was awesome, but my goodness, how could it be? I decided “I could do this”. “I like it”! But, I cautioned myself, “I’m still never getting married!”
A few more years have gone by and the love between us has grown immeasurably. This fall, Bill needed to take some time off work for health reasons and this time he lived with me for almost three months. It’s been a few years since our first cohabitation test and again it was awesome. Just around the time he was returning to work, he turned to me and said, “You know, someday I’d like to get married again”. Holy smoke, is this a proposal? I didn’t know what to say. “Can we think about this”? “Oh sure”, he said “there’s no rush or pressure”.
The truth be known, I’d been mulling over marriage for some time. But like coming out of the gay closet, I found myself fearful of stepping out of the “no marriage” closet. After all, I had failed at that once and it wasn't, and still isn’t, pretty. After that, Bill never said another word about his desire for matrimony but his unsolicited “suggestion” kept my mind occupied. We have been “going steady” (he’ll hate the juvenility of that phrase) for over five years and in terms of our relationship, the years have been truly magnificent. I decided I would give him an answer over this past holiday season. On New Year’s Day 2014, I said to him, “I’d like to talk about marriage again . . .”
Unless one is very famous or one does something extremely public, I don’t think a regular person can get anymore “out of the closet” than being in a same-sex marriage. As we know, even people who appear “gay” may not be, but getting married to someone of the same gender will leave no doubt about that couple’s proclamation.
As if there were any lingering doubts, Bill and I are delighted to announce that we are stepping “way out” of the closet as we’ve decided we are getting married . . .