Unmarried States – The Progressive, 7/14/2009

My partner and I have been together twenty-one years. She likes the soft inside of the bread; I like the crust. She does turbo-tax; I make H&R Block guys weep. She does the set-up; I do the punch-line. She likes to wait until I’m in the kitchen, and she has her head in the medicine cabinet to speak to me. I prefer to talk in the same room. I was making tea the morning after our Governor David Paterson came out strongly for marriage equality, when I heard her say something about marriage. Or porridge. Or the fridge.

“What did you say?” I shouted, as I gave the teabag a final vicious squeeze and brought her a cup of tea. “I said if we get same sex marriage in New York State, I guess we’ll have to get married.” I put her cup down on sink and asked, “Is that your idea of a proposal? You’re going to have to do better than that.”

She countered with a story about Annie Liebowitz and estate taxes.

I offered my when-we-get-a-federal-marriage-ruling-we’ll-think-about-it hedge.

It was very romantic.

We support marriage equality. We do not want to get married. Friends ask how we live with the contradiction. For me, it might be collateral damage from learning to live under the baffling, bifurcating rubric of ‘love the sinner; hate the sin’. For my dear partner, the non-practicing lawyer with the radical feminist roots, marriage is property, property is theft. And we could elope tomorrow.

My friend Randy reassures me that my unmarried state here in the Empire State is safe with Governor Paterson since he can’t even get an MTA budget passed. Democratic majority leader and Pentecostal minister, Reverend Senator Ruben Diaz and three other conservative Dems said they would not support the governor. Diaz was steamed about the timing of Paterson’s announcement, the day after the installation of the new beer-drinking, baseball-loving, marriage equality-not-liking Cardinal Dolan. Revnator Diaz took it as a major arch-diocesan dis.

The blue of some of us New Yorkers turned red with embarrassment that Iowa had beaten us to the punch bowl. If you check your map with the illuminated marriage equality states you’ll see Iowa far to the left of a dimly lit New York, glowing brightly out there on the plains, like a convenient stepping stone

Perhaps Iowa’s decision spurred Gov. Paterson into action. Perhaps the spirit of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, the beginning of the modern gay liberation movement in the US, inspired him. Detractors say he is trying to distract from the state’s budget woes but as a state legislator he had a long and strong history of support for the LGBT community. While some LGBT leaders worry about passing a marriage equality bill on such short notice, others say since it’s not an election year, a vote will show which representatives really are our allies. That will certainly help the large gay donor base decide whom to support in upcoming campaigns.

The other morning as I was making the bed, I heard from the bathroom shower a long rumbling sentence that ended with “take effect”. Or ‘lake effect’. She was raised in upstate New York; I grew up in Western New York. We know snow. She had been brainstorming ways we can talk with our families, friends and legislators in our old stomping grounds about marriage equality because it is those personal connections that ‘take effect’.

She loves a big party. I dread seating charts. If some morning I hear something about cantaloupe, I’ll just pretend she wants it for breakfast instead of grapefruit.

Kate “Happy 100th!” Clinton is a humorist

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  1. Aaron Stewart
    June 11, 2010 @ 11:03 am

    my girlfriend has a grape fruit plantation in their backyard and we always taste some of the harvest.~.`


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