I’ve just been to the happiest place on earth…the City Clerk’s Office of New York City in Manhattan.
We trotted into the rather overwhelming, marble-lined area of the first floor, with beads of sweat rolling down our faces and our backs from the ninety-degree weather, to apply for a marriage license.
A marriage license!
After being together for seventeen years and raising two (now) adult children, it hardly seems like an event worthy of fanfare.
For most of those seventeen years we lived in Pennsylvania, and while I was once married to a woman in that same state, my “partner” and I could never get married because we are both men. By the time Marriage Equality hit the state, we were moving into New York. And while it had recently become legal in New York, we just didn’t feel like we wanted to get married until everyone could get married.
We didn’t want our marriage to depend on what state we were in, and what state the state was in.
Truth be told, I never once thought about getting married.
Through our seventeen years of our relationship, marriage was just never an option; never even a consideration or a thought. We just dealt with the tax implications, the domestic partnership paperwork, and the second/third glances/stares at school events that come from being in a same-sex relationship.
We just dealt with it all, never thinking we’d ever be “equal.”
Imagine interviewing for a killer new job at the age of forty-five, and having to ask your potential new employer if they have domestic partner benefits….and wondering if you’ve just killed your chances to land it. Adds a whole new layer of stress to an already stressful scenario. Talk about beads of sweat!
Imagine going through customs to come back into the United States after a trip abroad, and wondering if you should walk up to the booth together and state that you are a “family.” What will the border officer think and will he give us a hard time?
Imagine not getting enough tickets for a school event because they only give them to the “parents,” so you sit alone as all the other (mostly) moms congregate and socialize.
So you can imagine why tears filled our eyes when we got on line at the City Clerk’s Office, as we watched couple after couple hold hands and giggle at the thought of getting a marriage license…from the same sex couples! We marveled at the mixes and matches of every other combination of couples under the sun.
It was like a movie scene; it was glorious; it was the happiest place on earth.
I don’t know what it is about these “government” places but they suddenly make me feel guilty for some reason.
Hope I don’t have an unpaid parking ticket and they’ll refuse to give me a license. Hope our clerk isn’t like some of the ones we’ve been reading about who will scowl at us and refuse us service. Hope they don’t find something about my first marriage that for some reason holds up our application.
Hope…just like we’ve been hoping that Marriage Equality would pass.
When our number was called, all fears were gone; leaving just our happy faces answering a few questions as I realized that this clerk has the best job on earth.
He’s there just to make people who are already happy even happier. He’s granting a license for people to move forward with their lives, to enter new chapters, and to fulfill their dreams.
And we were just one of those couples…moving forward with our lives, entering a new chapter, and fulfilling our dreams. And while we never dreamed of marriage as a possibility, we will take it. Thank you very much.
It’s the happiest place on earth.
p.s. I’m not one for selfies, but we couldn’t resist!