Last week I attended a wedding wearing a sweat-soaked T-shirt with a winking turd on it. However, my apparel was unremarkable compared to the event itself: Two men in Indiana were getting legally married.
Same-sex marriage was was made legal by a court ruling on June 25th by Judge Richard L. Young. On June 27th, my good friend J.R. Jamison was marrying his husband Cory. They’ve actually been married longer than Annie and I have, but they wanted to make it official in the eyes of the State of Indiana and the federal government. Like many same-sex couples, they rushed to get married, fearing an emergency stay would be put in place by Indiana’s attorney general.
It wasn’t my intention to wear a turd T-shirt to the wedding. J.R. invited us to the wedding as Annie, Harper, and I were stepping into the gym. The text came at 7:47 AM, which was just an hour after J.R. had invited his mother to the wedding. The text read:
“Getting gay married today around 9.”
We finished our workout and hustled over to the Ball State campus. J.R. and Cory were getting married beneath the university’s iconic Beneficence statue.
On the way, Annie asked if we should say something to Harper about how this wedding was different than others she had attended. For starters her father had a turd T-shirt, but that’s not what Annie meant.
“Harper,” I said. “J.R. is marrying a boy named Cory.”
“Okay,” she said.
I looked at Annie. Do we leave it at that? Was that enough to not have her say, “Why are there two boys holding hands?” during the ceremony.
“Harper,” Annie said, deciding to expound a bit, “a girl can marry a boy, or a boy can marry a boy, or a girl can marry a girl.”
“I know that,” Harper said. “I guess that’s a little weird . . .” and then she shrugged as if to say whatever.
Annie pointed out all of the other same sex couples who Harper knows and loves — Cousin Brice and his husband Billy, Aunt Karen and Aunt Julie. Most of what Harper knows about weddings she has learned about from the weddings of Disney and My Little Pony princesses. These are “traditional marriages” if you count horses getting married as long as they are of opposite sexes as a traditional marriage. Harper didn’t have any more questions. She had accepted people could marry whomever they wanted and was done with the conversation and onto chattering about all of the other things five-year-olds chatter about.
Before the ceremony started, Cory said he couldn’t believe that he was about to get married in Indiana. July 2nd marks the couples 9th wedding anniversary and they had been planning for months to go to New York City the following week to get married. That marriage would be recognized by the federal government. And then the Indiana ruling happened and they were proud to get married in their home state.
During the ceremony, Harper stood between Annie and me. Although Annie and I weren’t dressed appropriately, Harper wore a rainbow Rainbow Dash dress. She didn’t say anything. She didn’t have any questions. She just stood and watched as if something like this happened everyday.
Some are against same sex marriage because of their religion. I don’t understand that, but I accept their choice to believe what they believe. But I don’t accept faith being used to discriminate against an entire group of people. Love is love and the law is the law.
Marriage equality isn’t a faith issue; it is a rights issue.
On June 27th in Indiana no matter who you loved or chose to marry, you had all the legal rights provided to you as a married couple by the state and by the federal government.
J.R. and Cory’s first wedding nine years ago was a symbol of their commitment to one another, but this wedding would provide them with rights.
Before the wedding, Cory and J.R. may not be allowed hospital visitation rights if the other were sick.
Before the wedding, if one of them were to die the other would not have the typical inheritance rights afforded to married couples.
Before the wedding, some health insurance plans would not look at them as a family.
(An Oct. 2, 2009 analysis by the New York Times, The High Price of Being a Gay Couple, estimated that a same-sex couple denied marriage benefits would incur an additional $41,196 to $467,562 in expenses over their lifetime compared to a married heterosexual couple.)
The minister, a friend of theirs, pronounced them, “man and husband” and we all clapped as they kissed.
J.R. and Cory were legally married. . . for seven hours. That afternoon an emergency stay was put in place that made same-sex marriage no longer legal in Indiana. In the eyes of the law their marriage was less than ours.
In Judge Young’s ruling to legalize same sex marriage, he wrote, “Today, the ‘injustice that [we] had not earlier known or understood ends.”
I’m not exactly sure what Harper understands about marriage — same sex or otherwise. Sometimes she says that she is going to marry me or her cousin, Cale. But I believe that the injustice that couples like J.R. and Cory have faced and continue to face, will not be known by Harper’s generation. To me their wedding was a remarkable event, and I was proud to sign their marriage license as a witness. Someday I hope that to Harper and to the rest of us, such a wedding will be no more remarkable than any other.
Twenty states and the federal government have legalized same-sex marriage. It will happen in Indiana. The injustice will end.
Happy Anniversary and Happy Honeymoon to J.R. and Cory!