I Do?

By Jennifer Parello August 11, 2011

Categories: Dating & Relationships, Our Lives

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I suppose I’ve avoided the subject of gay marriage for as long as I can. I’m surrounded by states that are merrily caving to the demands of gays marching with placards that say such clever things as “If Liza can marry 2 gay men, why can’t I marry 1?” Even Iowa allows gays to unionize. Iowa!

I live in a state that does not allow gays to marry or unionize. And, secretly, I’m kind of happy about it. (Well, not so secretly. I am writing a column about it after all.)

I’m thrilled that the gay marriage issue is causing the religious right to collectively explode in rage. It’s fun to watch. And I’m delighted that corporations are forced to pay benefits to partners of gay employees. And, just to show that I have a scrap of heart, I was touched to tears to read about the longtime couples whose relationships were finally officially recognized when New York legalized gay marriage.

But marriage for me? Ugh, I don’t know.

One of the things I’ve always loved about being gay is that so little is expected of us. We’ve been free to live our lives in whatever stupid, weirdo fashion we please. For some, that means having guilt-free sex in forest preserves or forging a new family from members of your softball team. For me, it means doing whatever the hell I want, whenever the hell I want to do it. My parents have stopped sighing over my lifestyle long ago. They finally surrendered their vision of me as the perfect suburban housewife when I bought a fantastic lake cottage with the money I would have set aside for college funds had I stayed married to a man. They got grandchildren from my brother, and a lakeside retreat from me. They’re happy.

But now, with the marriage option on the table, the straights are starting to apply pressure.

“So, where are you going to get married?” Since the marriage decision came down in New York, I’ve been bombarded by that question from well-meaning straight friends. All of these friends are married themselves, and I’ve spent years listening to their rhapsodies of marital woe for years. Yet, still, they want me to join their miserable club.

My reluctance to wed has nothing to do with my feelings for my girlfriend. I love her! She’s a pumpkin! I want to be with her forever and I don’t want to have sex with anyone else. If she needed my insurance or some other type of financial aid that marriage affords, then I’d get hitched. But she doesn’t.

We met in our 40s, for Chrissakes. We’re adults. We have our own homes and our own money. Recently, we decided that because we’re both workaholics, we’d live apart on weekdays. We’ve never been happier. We get on each other’s nerves during the week, but we have great fun on the weekends. So, we’ve decided to keep the fun part and jettison the irritation. And because we’re gay, we can do that! But if we were married, I suspect there would be pressure to spend every Goddamned waking moment together.

Still, my girlfriend likes the idea of getting married. Mainly, I suspect, because she wants a big party. But, as I’ve told her repeatedly, we’re gay! We need no legal reason for a party. We just need someone to drop by with a bag of ice and, suddenly, a party breaks out.

All that said, I’m very happy for all the married gays out there. It’s fantastic to finally have the choice. And, if there’s any population that can turn marriage on its head and make it fun and sparkly, it’s the gays.

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