The Maine Thing

Wedding cake ©Anita Crotty

(Image courtesy Anita Crotty/Married… with Dinner)

Last year, DPaul and I got married, because we could. In the September after the state supreme court struck Prop 22, we became one of some 18,000 same-sex couples to be legally wed. It was, if I may say so myself, a lovely affair at the home of our friends in Hillsborough on a lovely, typically San Franciscan Indian summer day. It was in every way perfect to me, right down to the darling cake topper made by my mother, shown above.

Nablo09.90x33We had been “married” before. We first signed up as domestic partners in 1993 in the city of San Francisco, when that was the extent of what was available to us. In 2004, after domestic partnership became a statewide phenomenon, we signed papers anew. In all three cases we stuck to our original date to keep things simple.

Of course, barely six weeks after our wedding, Prop 8 passed, and California gained the dubious honor of being the home of the first-ever case of rights being taken away from American citizens. I was sick with rage; a pit hung in my stomach for weeks.

This year, our first, fifth and 16th anniversary was a little melancholy. If we wanted to reproduce last year’s event, we couldn’t. Not only couldn’t we marry legally anymore, but also our friends who hosted, one of whom presided over our wedding, had relocated to Malta. It all felt so ephemeral, like something had slipped away.

When the news of Maine’s passage of Prop 1 came yesterday, I had a familiar feeling. It didn’t hit as hard as last year. The rage and bewilderment were mitigated by the separation in both miles and months from last year’s affront. Rather, it was, once again, the feeling of something slipping away.

  • Mom

    Sean, I know just how you feel. I have been contacting people I know in Maine and sending them my condolences over the election results. I will never understand how it can be anything but unconstitutional to take rights away from an entire class of citizens. Your wedding day was so wonderful and I was so happy for you and DPaul. It breaks my heart that so many other gay couples are not allowed to have the same happy event in their lives that you and DPaul had.
    And worse, that they cannot have the same rights as any other married couple.
    I am not ready to give up on this issue. I will gladly take on anyone who wishes to debate it with me. I will be happy to have a discussion with anyone who is brave enough to tell me to my face that they feel that MY son is a lesser human being than themselves and then tell me that they are not prejudiced.
    Send them my way. I may be petite, but I am fierce.

  • Very sad. I went to a really wonderful wedding in the UK a few weeks ago, and it really made me feel so much stronger that it really is no-ones right to mess around with other peoples lives.
    Thanks for speaking up. I’m trying to write a good post about it soon…

  • I have read many posts from folks who are in similar situations, and it is heart-breaking.
    Your guess on my blog was almost correct. The photo is of a copper wire scouring pad (lol).

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    That's what I meant! Such a gorgeous image.  

  • I’m sorry. So very, very sorry. You and DPaul should be able to celebrate all three anniversaries without any shred of hurt and disappointment. There should be no overshadowing by the larger inequality that looms over all of us, that makes this country that much of a darker, less joyous place to live.
    I’ve lived an awesome life so far, and have achieved so much that makes me happy and giddy and totally satisfied. But the one thing I’ve never been able to make work, whether I had legal sanction or not, is a marriage. Honestly, it might be the one thing I want most in the world, even knowing, as I do, that they’re really hard, they’re not perfect, and they’re as ephemeral, in the end, as everything in this life. It doesn’t matter.
    And so to see the friends I love and the people I don’t even know — the ones who have figured out the love and commitment and partnership — discriminated against on this issue is so incredibly painful to me I can’t even stand it. I try hard not to waste the rage and hurt on situations where I have little-to-no control, but it gets the better of me, over and over again.
    I have hope this will change. I have hope it will change in our lifetimes — in fact, hope that it will change in the not-that-distant future. But the injustice of it eats at me. And it breaks my heart.

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    Stop making me cry. And Genie, the only reason I can reckon that successful marriage has eluded you is the there are few men on earth who can stand up to your incandescent personality. But someday you'll find him.  

  • Kris

    Makes me so sad. My husband’s military career has moved us all around the world, but I have always maintained my Maine residency. I have always been so proud to be from Maine. I still am. But am so let down. I’m afraid I gave us too much credit. I thought for sure the law would stick. I guess we just keep trying.

  • I think it’s a shame that some people are so afraid of what they don’t understand. Marriage should be for everyone. Hopefully one day many Americans will look back on this with the same feelings most of us have now when we think about the days that white and black children had seperate schools, waterfountains, bathrooms, restaurants, etc. Sometimes it appals me how inhumane we can be to our fellow human beings.

  • I know what you mean. It is so sad.
    I will never forget marching in the anti-Prop 22 rallies in Chico with my daughter who was eight at the time, and her shouting “can love and commitment ever be wrong?” in response to the hecklers. It was one of my proudest moments. That, and the fact that she chose to show up at school the next day wearing a jacket covered in dozens of “No on Knight” buttons, and faced down her right wing teacher who tried to make her remove it. Good times… 😀
    Don’t worry, honey. These brief, yet painful, setbacks won’t last. Not in a country that is embracing gay prime time television like Glee and Modern Family as regular family viewing. Views are shifting. Give it a few more years, and this will all be a distant bad memory.

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    I said in Twitter last year after Prop 8: The path to equality is not linear, but it is inexorable. I know we will prevail ultimately.