An Unlikely Bride

There is one very important thing that I have learned in the short time I have been running this blog: Unmarried couples are summarily fucked in more ways than I can count. Granted, there are some states (California and New Jersey to name a couple) that are friendly to unmarried couples, but once a couple crosses state lines (or even county lines or city limits) their rights can change dramatically. This is a risk that my partner and I are not willing to take.

First, there is the issue of medical decisions. Yes, there are advanced health directives and DNRs (Do Not Resuscitate orders), but would a hospital even recognize these in an emergency? Would I have to run home for certified copies or call my lawyer? Would the hospital staff even acknowledge me? My partner does not get along well with his mother and his brother is a drug addict. In addition, we are a mixed race couple and many people in his family have a serious problem with this. We do not want these people making medical decisions for him.

The second issue is health insurance. Currently only a handful of state and local governments and more recently the federal government (but only  in certain instances) have allowed domestic partners to have access to health benefits. It is not mandated in private industry and even at companies where benefits are available to domestic partners, it often excludes heterosexual partners. I recently had surgery and may need follow-up treatment. My partner’s job may transfer him out of state soon and I may not be able to find a job right away. I am trying to arrange to work remotely at my current job, but nothing is guaranteed. I cannot afford to go without health insurance and I cannot afford to purchase private insurance. It is too dangerous for me. I am also contemplating a career as a freelance writer, which will leave me without insurance.

There is a third, less tangible reason to marry this man: I love him madly. Seriously. This is like Movie Love, and I don’t mean that Nora Ephron chick flick romantic comedy love – that’s for lightweights. I mean real love. Think Dr. Zhivago. Think Thorn Birds. Think Katie and Hubble in The Way We Were…hopefully it will work out better for us than it did for our protagonists in the aforementioned films, but you get the idea.

So one night on the phone I proposed to my partner. A week or so later, he agreed to get married.

I can’t help feeling guilty – like I am betraying the Unmarried Rights community or the feminist community or something. My rational mind knows that’s ridiculous, but feelings are rarely rational. I thought about shutting down the blog. However, I spoke with some people and have decided that I can still blog about the discrimination that unmarried people face. The consensus was that I still have credibility on this issue, both as a lawyer and a person who has spent my entire adult life single. If some of my readers disagree, I completely understand. I would hope that I can serve as a kind of Pied Piper to the other side. A person who can educate the smug married types on how life is at the bottom of the totem pole.

So there it is. I am coming out of the closet…as a Bride.

I’ll conclude with another Barbara Streisand number (I know, I know…but I’m a white middle-aged gay man trapped in the body of a 31 year old black woman). This is a bit silly, but stick with it – it’s funny!

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8 responses to “An Unlikely Bride

  1. First of all, congratulations! Whether you call it marriage or something else, making a lifetime commitment is a huge deal! I understand what you mean about feeling like you are “betraying” the single community (and the quotes are there because you definitely are NOT). I’ve been noticing a lot of comments among people who support singles’ rights that are not just pro-single but actually anti-relationship, as if anyone who is in a relationship is “selling out” or has been “brainwashed” by society’s matrimania. I recently was telling someone that I sort of feel like housewives must have felt in the 1970’s – women’s lib said being a housewife was fine if it was really your choice but the attitude was often that it was the ‘wrong’ choice. Similarly, there are many who, in their rallies against singlism, end up sounding just as biased against couples. It’s unfortunate because I don’t see how you getting married should have any impact on your credibility at all – if anything, you will likely have more credibility, as least with smug marrieds, and being married may make you even more aware of the privileges associated with marriage that are denied to unmarrieds. Please keep up the great work!

  2. YAY! Excellent post. I’m going to send it to my friend H who visited just this weekend. We were talking about how she and her boyfriend/baby’s father/manfriend/sig other/whatever do not intend to get married, but they’re struggling with all the issues you name and are realizing that while they may be able to wring some benefits out of the system, it will require a lawyer to help them understand how to finesse their options. Not so with marrieds. I don’t know what they will decide to do, but I applaud your decision and know you will continue to advocate for all the singles out there (and the singles-at-heart).
    Cheers,
    Christina

  3. HA — “single at heart”!!!!!!!! I heart that new phraseology!

    Thanks for the thoughtful post, Therese —

    L

  4. Congratulations! I wish you could see my big smile!!!

    But this post made me smirk too….

    “So there it is. I am coming out of the closet…as a Bride.”

    It sounds like you are attending some kind of “unmarried anonymous” meeting ……. 😉

    It doesn’t matter how you set up your life etc, what matters is that you are happy – very happy. It sounds like you are, so that makes US happy.

    Now tell the F. Femails group!!! (i won’t spoil your news!)

    🙂 🙂

  5. It sucks feeling pushed into marriage because of legal issues–we got married earlier than intended for similar reasons. But as long as you love him and are already committed to him, don’t feel guilty about it. You’re just taking advantage of the benefits that society has decided your relationship deserves. Nothing else of substance will be changing.

  6. Pingback: More on Marriage… « Onely: Single and Happy

  7. This might not be the reaction you want but I think this is sad! Except for the third reason, I think these are all the wrong reasons to get married. No, not because I don’t follow your logic – I completely do – but because these are not reasons you should have to marry for. Marriage should be a choice that you can freely make as a form of commitment, not as a legal contract without which you might get screwed badly by society. It’s sad! I’ve realized a few times when people asked me if I’d ever get married again. Well, the honest answer is: I don’t know because I know all the things I’d give up if I didn’t get married. (Fortunately for me, I am not even partnered, so I am not faced with this “choice.”)

    Now, I do hope you’re not planning a big white wedding… ‘Cause if you do, I’ll have to get you “Here Comes the Bride” by Jaclyn Geller as a wedding gift 😉 .

  8. I was not looking for any particular reaction. I just thought I owed it to my readers (all 6 of them) to tell them what was going on and my reasons. The bottom line is that I wanted my partner and I to be legally recognized as next of kin. And because we have a legal system that discriminates against unmarried couples, this was the only way to do it. I have known that I wanted to share my life with my partner for a long time. I know that we should not need the state’s “approval”, but practically we do need it. I am aware that this choice was not a completely free one, but it was the one that I made and I’m thrilled about it.

    Big white wedding? Are you kidding me!!! We are getting married in jeans and button down white T-shirts. We don’t even want anyone to be there, but legally you need witnesses and there are two people who we would never hear the end of it from if they were not there (grrr…).

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