Marriage didn’t really enter my head until our gay friends started getting married.
Around Valentine’s Day four years ago, San Francisco started issuing marriage licenses to couples regardless of gender, and like most people who live around here, I got to see bunches of friends taking a plunge that they would have long before, had it been legal.
It hit me personally, because at the time, although I’d been a long time with Working Mom (then Working Girlfriend, but that just sounds wrong), I just couldn’t see getting married: the institution of marriage was so fraught, and old-fashioned, and a political hot potato.
But when my friends finally could marry, I started to see marriage as just another formal name for a lifelong commitment. Among our straight and gay friends, some have entered into marriages, some had commitment ceremonies, and some have chosen to keep their relationship decisions private. That’s the deal — for a few months, it seemed like everyone in San Francisco was going to have the freedom to make that same, personal choice, regardless of gender. So my wife and I got married.
A few months later, the courts invalidated the San Francisco marriage licenses. The state has told our friends that not only do they not get the thousands of rights and tax benefits my wife and I do, they can’t even call themselves "married."
Sorry for the long introduction: the rest won’t be so wordy!