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We're Legally Married Now!

Just recently, CrisMarie and I made the decision to get legally married.

We’ve been together for 20 years, ‘illegally’ married for 13 years. We did the wedding and vows to each other in front of friends and family the day after Washington state voted 5-4 against same sex marriage. It was a beautiful weekend, and even though our culture and government refused to acknowledge same sex marriage - I didn’t think of that as an inclusion issue.

However, fast forward to the decision to legally get married. I wanted this because both our financial planner and our accountant agreed this could be an advantage for us - or at least not a penalty.

So we went to the court house and did the legal steps. Now we are married.

Having exercised this right, I am realizing there has been a deeper-seated impact. I had simply ignored the somewhat background static of not being able to do what is easy and effortless for heterosexual couples.

I can finally, without question, answer married on documents.

I can legally deal with medical, financial, and insurance issues as a married partnership.

I can call my partner my wife.

When we shared this moment on Facebook - many friends (and even some family) were quick to write - “I thought you were already married. I saw the dresses!”

Yes, we were in our minds and in our hearts.

I firmly believe that is the most important aspect of this union.

However, there is something about being able to exercise our right to marry, something that can seem, to many, to just be a given. For a long time it’s been wrong, illegal, considered ‘evil’. In some cases, it still remains an issue, a cause to not be hired or a reason to be attacked.

Interestingly, this is the area in my life where my otherwise privileged life provides me a small window into what it is like for so many people. Some are not able, willing, or conscious of their biases and prejudices, and the impact it has on their ability to connect, share, and live well together.

The act of making my marriage legal actually woke me up a bit to how I had simply numbed myself to the impact of being lesbian, half of a same sex couple, and the fear it might cost me a job or the pain of having to listen to someone’s hatred and toxic homophobic rant or biblical diatribe about what is evil or wrong.

I have been okay knowing I can and will, when possible, speak up and counter that prejudice.

But I didn’t fully get that there has been and may still be this underlying trauma associated with this point of separation and polarization.

I find myself in an interesting space in my life - incredibly privileged and also acutely aware of the pain of not being accepted or legal as my privileged pedigree may present.

In today’s world I have little to complain about and I really should be spending some time trying to work through all the bias and prejudice that I, as a white middle to upper class woman, have consciously or unconsciously tossed out on others that do not have my background or my rights.

That’s the difficulty for me - I don’t think it is ever that simple. Bias, prejudice and privilege are so much more than just sex, race, gender, religion, culture and socio-economics. There are many stories and experiences beneath the surface.

So I am glad I got married. That special moment surfaced my own numbness to places in my being where trauma was still present.

I can work with that. Frankly, I think that work is most important in being more self-responsible in dealing with my privilege.

This is a journey and one that isn’t easy, comfortable or clear. We each need to remember that and look deeper and join at our heartbeats - because there is no separation there!

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