By: Matthew Kovach
As you’re all well aware, New York State legalized gay marriage this summer. I watched the vote from the apartment I share with my boyfriend of almost nine years with butterflies in our stomachs and a sense of hope for a brighter future. When the legislation passed you can bet your ass that we were giddy with delight, jumped up and down with joy, and then we swished right out and…
…didn’t get married.
You see, I have no interest in tying the knot. Nor does my partner. The reasons are fairly simple, so allow me to explain in as small of a nutshell as possible:
1. We know exactly what we have and what we want our future to be without needing a marriage certificate to validate the permanence of our relationship.
2. Speaking for myself (and this is a semi-controversial thought in both the gay and straight worlds) but I’ve always thought that one of the perks about being in a gay relationship is being able to be in said relationship without the societal expectation that marriage was the next, final step in legitimizing your union. In my humble opinion, that lack of pressure is a big reason why most of the longest-term relationships I’ve seen in my fabulous thirty-five years are between same-sex couples.
3. We have both witnessed some spectacularly painful and messy marriages (many of which should never have come to be in the first place - see #2 above) end in even more spectacularly painful and messy divorces.
4. Despite the fact that gay marriage is now legal in our state of residence we see no point in running out and getting hitched if our marriage would be invalidated should we choose to relocate to another state or country, not to mention the financial and time implications in figuring out taxes, healthcare coverage, and our annual vodka budget.
5. We simply don’t have enough room in our apartment for registry gifts.*
So, there you have it. We don’t believe that marriage is for us. And we’re totally content with that. I’m not saying our views can’t evolve over time. And I’m certainly not telling the gays NOT to get married. Some of the ‘cons’ I listed above may actually be ‘pros’ for someone else. For many couples out there marriage is for them, and more power to them. But for us - the two of us, in our own personal relationship, here and now - it’s not what we want or need.
But my entire point here is that we don’t have a say in the matter. Outside of six states and Washington, D.C., I have no CHOICE to say no to getting married. I should have the right to choose to stay an unmarried partner in a long-term relationship. I should have the right to choose to roll my eyes and pick the least expensive gift on the registry every time I get another wedding invitation in the mail, be it for a gay OR straight couple. And I absolutely want the right to choose to one day change my mind and actually get married, and have it be a ridiculously expensive ceremony on a tropical island where monkeys throw poop at us as we do shots of tequila while we stagger down the aisle towards a high priestess dressed like Mrs. Roper on prom night.
And so this is why I will continue to Swish and support marriage equality – for the rest of our states, on a federal level, on a global level! - and will do what I can to see that it becomes a reality. This is a fight for justice - not just a fight for marriage. Freedom is a tremendous privilege. And freedom to say “I don’t” can be just as powerful and beautiful as freedom to say “I do”.
*I am nothing if not open-minded and am willing to reverse my position on this point, above all others.