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Mary Gorham Malia
What’s a marriage-minded lesbian to do when she wants to get married but lives in a state that still hates LGBT people by keeping discrimination legal?
Do you live somewhere it’s unsafe to be out or be obvious you are a woman who loves women?
Does your state still pride itself on discrimination, like North Carolina recently has?
And what’s so crazy is I know so many lesbians that live in North Carolina. That Bible belt buckle is hard to break.
Do you live some place where being lesbian can get you fired? That might make it a little intimidating to think about having a wedding event right?
Yes, there are reasons some of you stay in the closet about parts of your life.
You’re in the closet at work, at church and with your family. You’ve got straight friends and you might even have your “straight” date friend.
He knows you’re a lesbian, but he’s happy to act as your cover because he’s gay and needs a cover story, too.
For many of my lesbian sisters, the whole point of dating is to create a long and lasting relationship.
You want marriage. You want that symbol of commitment. You want the recognition and respect that is paid to marriage in this country.
You want the financial benefits, and you want the sense of certainty about moving forward in your relationship and knowing you and your partner really are committed to making it work.
“Most LGBT couples want equal rights
and equal protection under the law.”
One of the many state “hate” facts is you can still get fired for being LGBT in 29 states.
In 1997, all 50 states denied gays and lesbians the right to marry.
We can now marry in 12 states and two tribal nations also allow same-sex marriage, but 30 states have passed constitutional amendments stating marriage is between a man and a woman only.
Some cities, like Austin, Texas, approved a local ordinance in 2012 allowing domestic partnership agreements within the city limits as one way to circumnavigate state bans on same-sex marriage.
My hometown of Portland, Maine, passed a domestic partnership ordinance in May of 2001, and now Maine has finally passed a statewide same-sex marriage bill by popular vote.
Yes, that’s a big deal. It only took four tries and more than 10 years of work.
Many lesbians just ignore the law and have their own ceremonies with an officiate of some sort to perform the vows while having family and friends as witnesses.
But that private ceremony doesn’t carry the weight of a legalized wedding in so many ways.
While for some of you that can be the perfect solution, what most LGBT couples want are equal rights and equal protection under the law, and marriage is a big symbol for both.
For you, is the whole idea of dating about finding a long-term relationship and fulfilling your gay girl dream of having a wedding with all the pomp and circumstance?
Have you found your lesbian love despite your state “hate” laws?
I sure hope so, and don’t let your state stop you from getting fully married.
When your darling gay girl and you decide it’s time to tie the knot and let the world know, then it’s time to schedule a vacation to New York state.
Smart, progressive and economically smart, New York makes same-sex marriage available to you even if your state says no.
New York would love to have you spend your marriage dollars there and they make it easy.
Photo source: staticflickr.com.