As long as you hold me tight

I’ve been grinning like a loon much of the day.

I have also been crying a lot—tears of joy (and astonishment).

Today the law allowing same sex couples to marry went into effect in our state (having been passed by the legislature, signed by the governor, and finally approved by a 54% majority of voters {in a year where the state at 81% voter turnout, I might add}).

Picture taken by Chelsea Kellogg, reporter for the Stranger.

Michael and I.

For various reasons, we didn’t go to wait in line for the office opening at one minute after midnight. We each took the day off from work and headed downtown after the sun was up and we’d had some breakfast. Since one of the reasons we didn’t want to be standing around outside on a nearly-winter night with rain in the forecast was that Michael still has the cough from our recent bouts with the flu, I let him sleep in. So we got to the county admin building at nearly noon.

I spent the morning reading news blogs and looking at the pictures of couples who had been the first in line at our county and a few others that opened early. They selected some couples to go first in line, such as a sweet pair of ladies who are in their late 70s-early 80s and had been together for over 35 years. Or the two men that age who have been together more than 40. Seeing the picture of one guy pushing his husband-to-be in his wheelchair up to the counter made me cry. There were a lot of pictures like that being posted by the various news outlets.

When we arrived, there wasn’t a big line. We were pointed in the right direction by people at several points, and getting congratulated by all these people. While there wasn’t a line, every workstation was busy with couples getting their licenses. And just as we and another couple were leaving… two more couples came in. So it was at the steady stream point by then.

A reporter from The Stranger asked if she could take our picture and ask a few questions. Since I read their blog every day, of course I was willing to answer questions. The first picture in this post is the one she took.

Us again. Why do I always stand on his right?

Us again. Why do I always stand on his right?

In addition to the regular paperwork, we were given a copy of the proclamation signed by the county executive, and various other commemorative items. We were directed out a different door than the way we’d come in, and some more volunteers were there, handing out roses and taking pictures in front of a sign commemorating the first day that marriage equality was the law. They took a few of these with my camera, then one of the others asked if we wanted one of us kissing.

For whatever reason, that was when I started crying for us. All of my tearing up, getting misty-eyed, and full-fledged crying earlier in the day had been for other people. This was the one where it finally hit me in the gut: the most wonderful man in the world has not only been living with me and putting up with me for nearly 15 years, but finally we’re going to be married. Not civilly united, or domestically partnered, or any of those other names, but married. Part of my astonishment is the simple fact that this wonderful guy actually wants to be saddled with me. I mean, yes, we’ve been together nearly 15 years (it will be 15 in February), and he’s had ample opportunity to run for the hills and hasn’t. But you have to understand, I don’t completely get why he puts up with me. Seriously, there are times I can’t stand to be around me, so I know for a fact I am not easy to live with!

Fortunately, Micheal's hat is hiding my tears.

Fortunately, Micheal’s hat is hiding my tears.

And there were more people waiting outside. We were offered donuts. There were also people handing out business cards and promotional fliers for wedding-related services. That’s to be expected, obviously. And I’m not complaining. Thanks to the fliers I’ve found several possible places to rent for our reception that I didn’t even know existed.

There were no protestors, though. I had kind of expected some. There are always a few of those people with the old testament signs and such at events like the Pride parade, so I just figured they’d turn out for this. Then when we saw that the line was shrunk to the trickle, I thought that protestors had left. I didn’t find out until we were back home that the reporter was there taking more pictures, after the big lines were through, because there had been a rumor that a group was coming to protest. Apparently they never showed up.

While we were walking back to the bus stop, a random woman on the sidewalk saw the roses, looked at us, grinned, and said, “Congratulations!”

I’ve violated one of my rules and dived into the comments sections of some of those news sites posting the pictures. And the amazing thing is how very few haters are commenting there. In the ones I looked at, if there were negative comments at all, for every 1 negative comment there were easily 20 comments from people saying how happy the pictures make them feel, with lots of mentions of people needing to grab a tissue. And a number of people going out of their way to say things like, “I want to say for the record, that I don’t believe any of these couples has in any way diminished my heterosexual marriage.”

I thought I was emotionally overwhelmed when the Referendum passed, and when I thought about all those straight people who voted for it. But it feels more overwhelming now. I guess going in and getting the license finally is making it feel real.

We have a three-day waiting period. We’re going to have a simple ceremony with friends this Sunday. We’re calling this the Elopement. I want to get the legal stuff handled as quickly as possible, if for no other reason than that I can finally add Michael to the much better medical and dental at my work. So this is the legal thing. And I know some of our friends will be there, and it will be fun and happy.

But the real purpose of a wedding is to allow your extended community of friends and family in on it. I don’t just mean the celebration. I believe that what makes marriage sacred is not that two people have made a pledge before some deity, it is because a group of people have committed to support two people in their love. When I attend someone’s wedding, I’m entering into a covenant with them and the other attendees, affirming a particular loving relationship, but also affirming the power of love itself. It’s a commitment to the extended ties that bind all of us together in circles of mutual affection and respect.

Which is why, yes, we’re planning something bigger and a bit more formal later next year.

And there will most definitely be a party.


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About fontfolly

I've loved reading for as long as I can remember. I write fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and nonfiction. I used to publish an anthropomorphic sci-fi/space opera literary fanzine. I attend and work on the staff for several anthropormorphics, anime, and science fiction conventions. I live near Seattle with my wonderful husband, still completely amazed that he puts up with me at all.

One response to “As long as you hold me tight”

  1. fenchurch says :

    Yay! I’d wondered if you guys were going to go in yesterday or if you were going to wait a bit. I was rather relieved that there weren’t any protestors around; one of the local news shows had filmed a guy they were billing as a “protestor,” but I have to be honest… listening to his rantings, I’m pretty sure he was just a random mentally ill man who happened to wander by and would have gone off at anyone who was nearby (especially with cameras rolling).

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