We are going to the district courthouse in East Lansing today to get married in the government’s eyes. Even though we don’t consider this our actual wedding, and we won’t consider ourselves married until July 30, we are still extremely grateful for the opportunity to legalize our union!
Did you know that there are over 1,000 statutory provisions that provide benefits or rights to married people? Starting today, we will be able to file taxes jointly, cover each other with health insurance, be each other’s next-of-kin in emergencies, adopt a child together (don’t worry – no plans for that yet!), transfer property to each other tax-free, and much more. We have chosen to join our lives financially and legally, and the state enables that for us. We think that any two Americans should have access to these rights and benefits, regardless of their sex, gender or relationship. Romantic love is wonderful, but shouldn’t be a prerequisite to someone’s legal and financial security, and having an opposite-sex partner shouldn’t be either. If you have the privilege of state recognition for your relationship, please remember to be grateful for it. If you would like to learn more about the need for marriage equality, visit Equality Michigan’s website. You can also donate to support their advocacy work.
On a more general note, we’ve been reading about the history of marriage lately to help us determine what it means to us. Two interesting books are Marriage, A History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie Coontz, and What Is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution by E. J. Graff. Both authors talk about the origins of marriage as a way to regulate property, sex, and family politics; how every generation fears a “marriage crisis” and the decline of civilization; and how women’s liberation and a more individualistic culture have shaped modern marriage. Coontz gives a more detailed chronological history, while Graff breaks her stories and arguments into topics (Money, Sex, Babies, Kin, Order, Heart). No matter what your relationship status, these are great reads that will challenge you to reconsider your views on marriage.
Despite all this critical thinking, we’re still excited and humbled to celebrate our emotional commitment to each other with all of you! With our wedding, we are promising to support each other and grow together, even when it’s hard. Thank you for your support at the beginning of our journey and beyond.
-Katie and Chris