After I not only accepted but also started to embrace the fact that we were going to have a more traditional ceremony, it brought a key question, on the minds of many, to smack front and center: Why marriage?
I am certainly not the first person to think about, mull over, and expound and this question. So let me do a quick rundown of the common points on each side.
Reasons for marriage: making a solemn commitment; celebration with friends and family, legal benefits; recognition by public of societally and legally accepted form of union; going with the flow; you get a big white dress and it's fun; etc.
Reasons not for marriage: can do most of the above without artificial legal accoutrement created by the government to validate what should already be considered a valid union; participating in institution in which not everyone can choose to participate; etc.
For me, while I believe the "nay" reasons, I also believe the "yay" reasons and am therefore going forward with the marriage. I am fully aware that I could have a commitment ceremony and celebration, as many people do, without the legal sanctification. So why am I doing the legal marriage? Am I doing it for the legal benefits? I guess in certain senses getting married does make things easier, both legally and socially. So I'm doing this just for legal and social convenience? Really? I mean, why do I truly need to get *legally* married?
The hard truth is that I don't feel it is necessary for me, spiritually or emotionally, to get legally married. I mean, it would be great--I do think that it makes for a great celebration and I look forward to the sentimental avowal to entwine my life with Kevin's, but again, as a I mentioned, a marriage license is not a necessary component of a great party with friends and family, or to commit my love and life to Kevin.
One can even argue that getting married isn't all that advantageous. Many hetero married couples keep their own last names and are just fine, and you can buy homes and open joint checking accounts even if you're not legally married. You can also designate in your will and by other methods as to who will be your beneficiaries.
So, I know the legal act is unnecessary, however, I am choosing to go ahead with it anyway. Why? This is tough, and it's going to sound somewhat blithe--because it will make our lives easier in certain senses, and I have the privilege to do so.
It is very difficult for me to write that, because the key part is that "I have the privilege"--not everyone does. Not everyone has this privilege for reasons I cannot fathom. I am knowingly choosing what many see as an advantage even though some of my friends and acquaintances cannot choose the same course, and this creates a permanent contradiction that unfortunately I simply cannot solve for myself. But that is the nature of injustice. One can't explain it away.
This is a difficult question, personal and unique to every person and couple. I don't have an answer for anybody else out there, just for me (and mine wasn't really a satisfactory answer at that).
I don't have a smooth, nice way to tie this post up. I'll just end this post with a few small reminders that wedding beauty and inspiration can come from outside the heterosexual paradigm...