Tag Archives: wedding planning

Choosing to Stay.

30 May

As soon as I tell people I’m engaged they usually ask the same question, “where you are going?” Implied in this question is the understanding that in order for us to have a wedding we must go somewhere else. We must go to some province of liberalism where we will be welcomed with open arms, and our relationship is legally recognized. Of course I’m exhilarated and excited about the progress of marriage equality in New York, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Iowa, Minnesota, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, Washington D.C. and Vermont I readily applaud all those who travel to hold their weddings in states that sanction legal unions. However, part of the fun of planning a wedding as a same-sex couple is that we are never required to do what is expected. So, Chris and I have decided to hold our ceremony in Birmingham Alabama. You read that correctly.  I’ll pause while you finish laughing.

photo credit: CarbonNYC via photopin cc

It’s ok, you can go ahead with the pictures I’m sure your mind is conjuring. Are you imagining women in hoopskirts? Confederate Flags? A reception catered by Guy Fieri or the cast of the Blue Collar Comedy tour?  I know this might sound a bit absurd to think of a clear Midwest cynic like myself, and a big silver fox from Jersey to be getting hitched in what I’m sure, to you, must look like the shooting locale from Deliverance. However, there’s an explanation, one that is as heartfelt as a Sally Field breakdown.

photo credit: CarbonNYC via photopin cc

Here’s our thinking, and its simple: no matter where we get married, it won’t be “legal” where we live. So we figured, let’s get married where our home is, where we fell in love and moved into a house together. To me, marriage is more than a signed signature on a piece of paper or a legal partnership that can be undone as easily as Kathryn Hegel accepts movie roles. It’s making a vow of commitment to one person for better or worse, in sickness and in health as long as you both shall live. The legal state of marriage is as unstable as Amanda Bynes psychosis so why go out of our way to make something “legal” when it can be frighteningly easy to take it away. Even if we did get married out of state federal law, thanks to the defense of marriage act, would ignore our marriage in taxes, healthcare, and other benefits bestowed to heterosexual couples.

By ErgoSum88 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By ErgoSum88 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Second, there is a symbolic element to hosting a ceremony in a state that refuses to acknowledge our union.  In Alabama, homosexuality remains on the books as a criminal act. We are not allowed to adopt a child as a couple, we are denied the ability to share the same healthcare, I cannot establish residency in this state for tuition purposes, and k-12 teachers are required to tell students that homosexuality is “not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public.” However Alabama is also home to a warm, welcoming, and inclusive community that helped Chris and I feel truly at home during the last three years. Alabama has a rich tradition of social justice work as The Black Panthers, The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Southerners on New Ground and generations of social change advocates started their journey in this place.  There is a power in our choosing to stay, in choosing to create a space that will encourage others to stay, to turn the tide of social injustice and to alter the public and civic imaginary of what Alabama is capable of. In this, we choose to celebrate our union in a place where so many fought for us to have the ability, and where there is still vehement opposition.
So we’re planning a gay wedding in Alabama, I’m sure it will make for some interesting stories.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/3033956970/”>CarbonNYC</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/496721450/”>CarbonNYC</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;
 
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