Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pick your battles

I'm all for people standing up for things they believe in, the things they think are important. But sometimes I'm baffled by the things that some people think are important enough to take a stand on.

A couple in California has refused to file a marriage license the state will recognize. To comply with the California Supreme Court's ruling that the state must recognize same-sex marriages, the state marriage licenses have been modified to identify the two people as "Party A" and "Party B." This doesn't sit well with one couple in Sacramento. They insisted on modifying their marriage license to identify themselves as bride and groom. The state won't recognize modified licenses so they were given a deadline for submitting a new license, but they refused to do so. So to the state, they're not married. Which means the bride can't take her husband's name (her choice) without paying the legal fees any non-marriage name change costs. Nor can the bride be listed on her groom's insurance, which is a shame as she doesn't have insurance on her own.

I find this a fairly silly fight to take up. Honestly, I would never have thought to expect a marriage license to list the parties as "bride" and "groom." Male and female maybe. Or man and woman, but not bride and groom. I certainly wouldn't have let the fact that the state considered me "Party A" make me feel any less like a bride. I would think the bride feeling would come not from the one little piece of paperwork involved, but from the big white dress, the flowers, the cake, the coming together of all of my family and friends, the showers and parties and dinners, the taking of vows, the first dance, the cutting of the cake, the groom...

Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute says this "debunks the argument" that same-sex marriage has no impact on heterosexual marriage. Umm, no. I'm sorry, but this couple is choosing to let this minor thing affect them. And that's their problem that they need to deal with or get over.

Maybe if you don't feel "bride-y" enough, that's a sign that there's something missing in your relationship or that you've just lost total focus on what's important in this whole marriage thing. Like Carrie tells Charlotte at Charlotte's less-than-perfect wedding to Harry, by focusing on the little thing that's "wrong" in their eyes, they're missing the big picture. They've both found the one person they want to spend the rest of their lives with, they got to celebrate that fact with all of their friends and family, and the state of California will join in that celebration, just as they will for any two people in the state who are lucky enough to find each other.

So get over it already. Sign the damn license and get all the benefits the state gives you as wedding gifts. Enjoy each other everyday, enjoy the beauty of your new, shared life, and let yourselves feel how lucky you are to have found a mate. And if you need the occasional reminder, get a giant copy of one of your wedding photos and put labels on it. The guy in the spiffy tux is "Groom" and the one in the poufy white dress is "Bride." I'm pretty sure everybody but you two always knew that.

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