Making it legal

Those of you who have read the book will remember Ben & Joriel. They had a wedding on March 20, 2005, but opted not to get legally married because of concerns with marriage inequality. Yesterday was their third anniversary, and they celebrated by making their commitment legal! I was proud to be a witness at their Seattle courthouse wedding:

Ben & Joriel made it legal

So, why did they decide to make get legally married after all these years? The short answer: Joriel is pregnant. The longer answer is eloquently written out on Joriel's blog:

We still feel strongly that the institution of marriage is not what we wish it was … We can only hope that the institution of marriage will continue to evolve and that perhaps we can help that process along by continuing to challenge homophobia, gender role assumptions, religious persecution, and other forms of oppression in our relationship and in our lives. [read the whole thing]

  1. My friends opted not to get married because of similar reasons, and when they became pregnant the family really pressured them with things like "what about the baby" or "think of your children". In the end they had a lawyer draw up papers so her guy had the power of attorney.

  2. Ben & Joriel did power of attorney when they did their commitment ceremony. Unfortunately, it just doesn't cover everything when babies get involved … which is the fucked up and sad reality of marriage inequality in the US.

    2 agree
  3. I really enjoyed that blog entry and the thought behind it. It makes practical sense. Having been partnered with a woman for 13 years and being a parent with her and now engaged to a man, I've got my own mixed feelings about entering into a legal relationship. But when I was living as a lesbian (and did have a rocking 'wedding' 10 years ago), I'd never have resented any heterosexual couple who took advantage of their rights to protect themselves and their family. The fact that a heterosexual couple makes a conscious choice like Ben and Joriel and talks about how they feel the world is unequal makes a big difference. It means something…
    And I hope that parenthood is great for them both! Congrats all around!

  4. OK, sorry for the dumb comment; I see from Joriel's blog entry that it is indeed Saundrah. I was so excited to see her face in a kind of random place!

    I remember Ben and Joriel's story from the book, and I think it's wonderful how they stood up for their ideals. Their marriage yesterday doesn't diminish any of that. And sometimes you have to be pragmatic.

  5. But the important question is: where did the woman on the right get her SHOES??

  6. My fi and I were planning on not getting married for the same reason. We decided after a very in-depth and passionate conversation that we would actually get married. It was a really tough and emotional decision for both of us. We're lucky enough to live in a state (Iowa) where gay marriage could be a reality in the very near future and we're also lucky enough to be married by the judge who wrote the decision that legalized sames-sex marriage in Iowa (even if it was for only one day). Thanks for sharing this story, it's something that we all need to start talking about more!

  7. RE:Jenn
    On April 28th gay marriage became legal in Iowa.

  8. Yes marriage does not as equal as they are portrayed. Not only that parents/gender rights are not equal in most states if the parents are not married when the child is born the father has no legal custody though may be required to pay child support

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