By Belinda Carroll, PQ Monthly
Same-sex marriage land has been absolutely wackadoo lately. According to the right, if the states were at a party, all of a sudden Kentucky would be taking off her top, making out with a frat boy and recognizing same-sex unions. We’d wonder what was in the Supreme Court’s Jell-O shots. I would take this analogy further but then we’d have to wonder what drugs Iowa was on in 2009 when it unexpectedly legalized same sex marriage. And I’ve met Iowa, you don’t want to know.
I love the idea of marriage. I love pomp, I am all over circumstance and the thought of walking arm and arm with my beloved when I’m old enough that it’s needed for my general uprightness—it all thrills me to pieces. However, things have changed; twenty years ago I could ask Ms. Right Now to marry me and it didn’t really hold much weight legally, but now it’s getting serious. I have to ask myself questions that I never have like, who proposes, who keeps the futon, and should I put the cats in the pre-nuptial agreement? My little gin blossoms, same-sex marriage is getting so close to Oregon that marriage equality can guess if Oregon is going commando. (It’s Oregon, of course it is.) We are expected to see same-sex marriage legalized within the year. But this is not the first time.
I don’t know if you know this, but Multnomah County was one of the first counties to marry same-sex couples in March 2004. Even those of us that were “in the know” back then about queer politics were all “WTF?!” And, then you actually had to call people and ask them “WTF?” I had so many dykes calling me my ear was sore for a week. But just my ear.
I had these friends, we will call them Jen and Sarah, because their names were Jen and Sarah. I know, I’m not creative. Anyway, they had an interesting story that I will not dredge up here, mostly because I don’t know if the statute of limitations are up on part of it.
They were perfect for one another. Sarah understood that Jen was the center of the universe and Jen loved that about her. They also could tell each other apart. I don’t have to tell you that in some lesbian relationships that is a feat. That is why I adhere to strict Butch-Femme standards; I’m easily confused.
But I digress.
They got married at the Multnomah County courthouse and later moved to North Carolina (don’t ask me) and bought a house. Yeah, that’s it. I think they might have a boat. They are monogamous too, I mean can you imagine? That is like the most boring story ever.
Oh, except for the fact that their marriage was later invalidated and revoked, but the county kept their money. But I’m not bitter. Maybe I am. Great, I’m bitter about a marriage that is not even mine. What does that say about me? Well, that’s one more thing to talk to my therapist about.
I bring the story up because it’s been 10 years since that fateful time in Oregon history and now we are on the precipice of full marriage equality again. A majority of the state according to polls is for legalizing same sex unions and I myself am in a union. And yes, we’ve talked about getting married. We haven’t actually gotten engaged officially though, so I decided to talk to a couple who have actually popped the question
Meghan Watters and Jade Minkin are a couple who reside in Boise, Idaho. I was recently in Boise to perform comedy. Idaho is having a battle right now about adding the words Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity to the existing Idaho human rights charter. They are expecting that same-sex marriage won’t come to Idaho for a long time since marriage was defined as between “one man and one woman” in 2006 and it doesn’t look like that is changing; so they are planning on getting married in Portland, where Meghan’s family lives.
They met when Meghan was asked over three times if she had met Jade. That may be because Jade is an exceptionally pretty hypnotherapist from Los Angeles and Meghan is a percussionist in three bands. Clearly, Meghan needs to relax and her friends knew Jade was the ticket. Jade and Meghan felt the way that most of us would love to feel when we meet the person of our dreams. Meghan said upon meeting Jade, “I felt so nervous I couldn’t talk to her at first,” and Jade said something about “the stars exploding, and the universe opened up.” Out loud. She said that out loud and was dead serious. So either Meghan is the love of her life, or she was on really good drugs. She is a reiki practitioner too, so it may be both.
I have to say that I love these stories. I have not had the best examples when it comes to marriage. Therefore, my idea of marriage success has been that a marriage is a success if it lasts through the term of an unexpected pregnancy. This new era of marriage equality has got me feeling all warm and fuzzy about marriage. Suddenly, I treat every engagement as a pronouncement of ever-lasting love. (It may help that my love has parents who have been happily married for close to 50 years and it’s given me a new view.)
I know that likely same-sex marriages will have similar divorce rates, and that we will make the same mistakes as our heterosexual counterparts. But, that’s the point. We may end up like Jen and Sarah or my partner’s parents—happily married after 10, 20, or 50 years, or we may get divorced. No matter, at least we have the same chance to try.