As recently as 2011, I was still in the habit of telling people that I was against gay marriage. In my mega-liberal home state of Massachusetts, it felt like a lark to be the lesbian in favor of civil unions. “It’s not that I think we should give marriage back, now that we have it here,” I’d say, “but really, who cares about a word? If they want to keep the word, why not just let them have it?”
Marriage always seemed to me to be so lame, so totally dull and unsexy that to fight earnestly on its behalf was almost embarrassing. It seemed to me that one of the main perks of lesbianism was not having to follow the same rules as other people about what constituted a successful relationship. Even after the Goodridge decision made marriage a possibility, I continued to assume that it would never affect me one way or the other. It helped, perhaps, that I had yet to enter a relationship that lasted longer than a year–but a life of writing, travel, and serial monogamy sounded far more exciting than finding some other person to drag around for an entire lifetime.
My fiancee reports having quite similar feelings about the potential dreariness of marriage vs. the excitement of singletude, although she’s young enough not to have linked her gayness with freedom from having to marry the way I did. Like me, she was always more passionate about her work (in her case, it’s the study of insects, particularly vectors of infectious diseases) than her romantic partnerships. Also like me, she continues to have reservations about the institution of marriage and is a bit ambivalent about contributing to the expansion of it, despite being a far more consistent supporter of marriage equality than I ever was. Nevertheless, together we’re ignoring June Thomas’ advice not to become wives and going forward anyway.