I’m surprised by how often my thoughts on marriage has lead me to blog, considering how infrequently I blog. Generally speaking, I’m a big believer in choice. I love what’s happening in Vermont, Iowa, New Hampshire, DC. I believe that marriage, civil unions, and covenant marriages should be available to those who want them. If you can find a minister/rabbi/priest/justice/etc. who’s willing to unite you in whatever belief system you like, more power to you.
Now, I recognize that I’m incredibly lucky to have found the right person so early in life. I’m lucky that that person was of the opposite sex such that our relationship has been recognized by law for over nine years. Nevertheless, I feel shoehorned into the institution of marriage. It’s the closest thing available to us right now that affords us the multitude of protections on both the state and federal level. I’m intrigued that Illinois House Bill 2234 would give us the opportunity to divorce and civilly unite… except that we’d be voluntarily stripping ourselves of a myriad of federal protections. (And since I’m not on good terms with his mother and he’s not on good terms with mine, there’s no way that I’m risking my position as his #1 go-to person in terms of access during a medical emergency or decision making power and I’m not risking his position as such either.) I resent that our relationship must be defined, under federal law, under such terms.
I don’t think that “marriage for all” is the right answer if that’s the exclusive answer. I’ve never been comfortable MARRIED to Chris. There’s all sorts of religious and social baggage associated with the institution that I’d personally rather not support. But it’s all we’ve got right now. And even if Illinois does pass the Civil Union bill, while I think we’d be tempted to go for it, I don’t think we would. Because under the current state of the law, CUs are second-class unions. There’s just no way around that.
The day we can better define our union, without risking the rights we currently enjoy, will be a day to celebrate. In the meantime, today (and last Friday) are milestones towards true equality — and that’s nothing to sneeze at either.