(photos by .ariel)
Three years ago on the spring equinox, Ben and I had a big fabulous commitment ceremony. Surrounded by friends and family we made promises to spend a lifetime together. It was a wonderful perfect day.
Before the ceremony, we spent a lot of time explaining our reasons for not getting legally married. Since then thousands have people have read about our decision via our friend Ariel’s Offbeat Bride book and website.
Thus, many people may be surprised to hear that today in the downtown Seattle Municipal Court, Ben and I stood in front of a judge and became husband and wife. Although it was a joyful occasion, it was not an easy decision. We still feel strongly that the institution of marriage is not what we wish it was. Ultimately we decided that marrying one another is, for us, the right thing to do for the baby we’re expecting in about five months.
Marriage is the most direct way to ensure that we share full custody of our child and we both have total authority to make legal and medical decisions on his or her behalf. Marriage ensures that I can continue to freelance and stay on Ben’s insurance, along with the baby, wherever he ends up working in the future. Marriage ensures that if something terrible happened to me, Ben would have unquestioned legal rights to our child. Marriage will also help us at tax time and making smart fiscal decisions seems all the more important now that the expenses of raising a child are close upon us.
We resent the fact that homophobia continues to prevent these basic rights from being available to all families in this country, but at the end of the day we simply can’t risk allowing our personal beliefs or politics to have detrimental effects on our baby — at least not when we can choose otherwise. We are consciously taking advantage of our privilege as a woman and a man. We can only hope that the institution of marriage will continue to evolve and that perhaps we can help that process along by continuing to challenge homophobia, gender role assumptions, religious persecution, and other forms of oppression in our relationship and in our lives.
We want to be clear that we don’t feel any more committed to each other now than we did before we were married. We were in it for life three years ago, and we will continue to celebrate our commitment ceremony as our anniversary. Nevertheless, making sacred promises to one another once again was a beautiful experience, and we want to shout out a big thank you to Ariel and Saundrah for being our lovely witnesses. In fact, thanks to everyone who has supported us for the past three amazing years! We know how lucky we are, and we love you all.