June 26, 2015
I’m usually pretty good with words. They’re kind of my thing.
Today, though, I can barely form a complete sentence. I keep bouncing distractedly from task to task, totally unable to focus. I got halfway through folding the laundry when I went to unload the dishwasher but only got halfway through that before realizing that I was really hungry and needed to eat and then, while cleaning the counter, noticed that I’d failed to plug in the crockpot that I’d filled with a chuck roast an hour before. I may or may not have bounced around Costco while whistling “I’m Getting Married In the Morning” to myself & loading my basket with a giant box Kleenex, of which I’ve already used an alarming amount. Thanks a lot, SCOTUS!
Here’s the thing—it’s not like the world stopped being an awful place today just because I can now get married. We still live on a planet that blooms with suffering, and in a country ripe with injustice, deep-seated and complex, to which many are blind. Even within the LGBT community, there is much more work to be done: protecting transgender men & women from violence, making sure queer kids are safe at school, and ensuring that refugees fleeing persecution in other countries due to their sexual orientation or gender identity actually find the asylum they seek here in the United States.
I know all of this. I know that this emphasis on marriage equality reifies notions of the “right kind” of gay, that there’s still a ridiculous wage gap based on gender, that I will have to raise my child inside a society where, as I write this, hundreds have had to gather for the funeral of a Senator who was shot inside a church because of the color of his skin, in an act some people “just really don’t feel comfortable” calling terrorism.
But still, I cannot help myself. Today, I feel deep and profound joy. Today, thirteen years and one kid and one bout with cancer and two years of long-distance and numerous career changes and dozens of hairstyles and the death of one parent and the aging of the other three later, the law of the land where I live—and which I love, though not at all blindly—says that I can get married to Jill. That we will have access to the privileges and benefits previously, and according to the court wrongly, denied us. That our son’s parents will have the same piece of paper his friends’ parents have. Not that we will have something new, but that what we have long had is finally being recognized.
Last night, I had the pleasure of participating in the Poison Pen reading series here in Houston, which takes place monthly at one of the city’s best dive bars. Standing out in the sweaty back courtyard, I read from an essay I wrote for Issue #4 of Sugar & Rice magazine, “Stolen Rides.” The piece chronicles a road trip Jill & I took in the summer of 2011, to attend the wedding of my high school friend Kristen. It was our first time leaving town after Jill’s cancer treatment, and her head was just beginning to bloom with the first of its post-chemotherapy hair. Everything about our time together felt sacred and precious and blessed.
As a bridesmaid, I sat up on the altar during the ceremony, away from Jill. But during the vows, I searched the pews for that fuzzy head and caught her eye. They say that attending a wedding as a couple makes you feel like you got married all over again, and I guarantee that no one in the sanctuary that night felt the power of the words “in sickness and in health” more than we did. I am so ready for us to finally get to say them to each other, in the presence of a judge and with our son as a witness.
Let’s get married, Jill Carroll. I love you like crazy and it’s about damn time.