Love, Love, Love

There’s been a lot of love in the air recently.

Mostly it’s been baby love. Three good friends all had babies in the past few months (two of them first time mommies to Lil‘ and Eli‘) and a few adoptions by distant friends have moved into finalized stages. Is there any love like baby love?

Then there’s family love. Coming home from a month away makes me realize – as always – how damned lucky I am to have this amazing family (dog and cat included) Most days I think the feeling is mutual…

And there’s been good ol’ fashioned falling-in-love LOVE, which is always wonderful to see!

When Gerry and I were first married and would stroll down the street hand-in-hand, it dawned on me how lucky we were. Many couples don’t have that freedom, or right to have their union sanctioned by their government. It’s just wrong.

We had originally scheduled our wedding on Saturday, but we were reminded that Jewish weddings don’t happen on that day because there’s a proscription against signing a contract on Shabbat in Jewish law.

Until that point I hadn’t thought of marriage in those terms – strictly contractural – but this reoriented my thinking.

Marriage is, first and foremost, a contract. Taking the cultural taboos out of it, which some folks find hard to do, marriage is an agreement between two people to treat each other with respect, honor, cherish – and whatever else is tossed in (Love? Mais oui!)

One hint that marriage is a contract: Consider how the dissolution of a marriage is handled. In a church? No. In a court.

My own personal thinking is that all marriages should be simple civil contracts, with the additional religious or spiritual ceremony to be performed at the discretion of the participants.

If you believe that marriage is a sacrament which includes god, fabulous – have at it! Just don’t insist that your definition of marriage is the ONLY definition permissible under our law.

There’s no reason that one person’s impression of what their god desires should keep another person from entering into a civil contract. But that’s just my own point of view – held by many, rejected by some…

I also think that marriage shouldn’t be terribly expensive. The cost to file the papers and enter into the contract should be minimal, which it is in many states. Our own wedding cost us a mere $1,000 (dress and cake included, because we did it pretty much on our own.)

The cost to file the paperwork was around $50, and that was very kindly handled as a gift by Gerry’s family.

I have an internet friend, Brooklynn, a knitter who I met on Twitter. Originally from the US, B met the love of her life online in a trans group, and moved halfway around the world, where marriage between two folks of the same sex is A-Ok.

She’s getting married in a few weeks, and it’s a pretty interesting situation (which will make some folks teary and others tear their hair out. It’s just how folks are.)

The interesting twist, though – as if there weren’t twists enough – is that Brooklynne is using the $120 filing fee (!) for their marriage as an opportunity to raise awareness of Marriage Equality.

One shouldn’t have to move half way across the world to get married.

She’s raising funds to cover the filing, with all extra funds above and beyond the $120 fee going as a donation to Marriage Equality USA.

I salute her in this – it’s a clever way to cover one of the gazillion costs associated with getting hitched, and a way to put a personal face on the Marriage Equality issue. If you feel so inclined and would like to slip her a $5, think of it as a wedding gift!

Mazel Tov, Brooklynne & Ryan!

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