(cross posted to Vermont's Green Mountain Daily)
On April 7th, 2009, the Vermont legislature passed marriage equality into law, overriding a veto by Jim Douglas and removing restrictions from marriage based on gender or sex.
So this note is partially a thank you to the legislature for what they accomplished and a reminder that sometimes steadfastly opposing the governor when he is on the wrong side is very much the right thing to do. (they kind of need that reminder right now)
It's also a plug for the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force, which was instrumental in the process of getting the veto overturned.
The rest of this is mostly personal, but its' not irrelevant. Some of it I've written before. Some of it is new.
Right now, we're trying to get our taxes done. We're married, but it's not recognized at the federal level, so we still have to file our federal taxes as individuals.
Vermont's taxes, however, are based on federal taxes, which we need to file jointly to get the right numbers for Vermont.
This means that we have to do a separate federal return as a married couple, which we will not file, and base our Vermont tax form on THAT document. Nice.
But still, I feel lucky. At the very least I didn't get invited to a fake wedding while other people attended the real thing. But I digress. There are places where people do not only view lesbianism as bad, but as enough to render you unfit for simple human decency.
Vermont is not such a place, and the simplicity of this is part of what I think can change the rest of the nation.
Back in September, I wrote about going to the town clerk's office the very first day that same-sex marriage licenses were being given out in Vermont.
We did the formal ceremony in Mid September.
It was quiet, mellow and really kind of nice.
Before the ceremony everyone told me that marriage changes everything, that no matter how much you think it won't, it changes you.
Maybe so. But if so, I just haven't noticed it. Just like before, we take time off from work to help one another when it's necessary. When we have bills to pay, we pay them together. It's all just... there, just like it's been for more than a decade.
I know I've only been married for a short while, but honestly, what's most special about this for me is the ordinariness of it: the week before the ceremony, people asked me if I were nervous. I really wasn't. The week after, people asked me how it went. And then everything went back to normal.
What I love about being married isn't the idea of it being special or different. It's the idea of it being just ordinary.
And honestly, I think this is what scares opponents of same-sex marriage more than anything else. They want to call it "special" rights. They want to call it an attack on traditional marriage. But the fact of it is that it's just what it is: two people who made a choice for themselves. In our case, it was two people who made a choice for themselves, had a nice quiet ceremony and had a surprisingly uneventfully pleasant party.
So let me just say this: pretty much everyone I know, even people I know who are really conservative, seem genuinely happy for us.
I think this is where the people who oppose same-sex marriage will, in the long run, fail: not because they're wrong (which they are) but because when ordinary people know same sex couples who are married, they can see exactly what is there: people who care for one another in the quiet, dull, and ordinary ways everyone else does. When groups claim that same-sex marriage will destroy something, it's prevalent on them to prove it. When they make such unrealistically and obviously false claims, all it takes is an act of truth to prove them wrong.
Married life, for me, is still just life.