California Love: Now Officially Available In “The Gay Kind”

Not to piggyback off of this post (well, maybe it is), but a recent California Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage may give Alabama a run for its proverbial homosexual money.

The May 15 ruling took effect at 5:01 p.m. (8:01 p.m. ET) Monday. Gay and lesbian couples had lined up for hours outside county clerk’s offices in anticipation of the decision coming into force.

Lesbian rights activists Del Martin, 87, and Phyllis Lyon, 84, were the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license in San Francisco on Monday, with Mayor Gavin Newsom presiding over their wedding ceremony.

As such, they are the kissing couple pictured in the article. Out of courtesy, I should’ve told you before I linked to the article above. My bad.

Here it is again. (WARNING: May contain gross old lesbians kissing.)

“This is an extraordinary moment in history,” Newsom told a cheering, standing-room-only crowd at City Hall. “I think today, marriage as an institution has been strengthened.”

Oh really, Mayor Newsom?

Look, I hate to rain on your little gay pride parade, and I certainly wouldn’t want to put a damper on the wedding reception at Creepy Uncle Gill’s House of Pottery, Antiques, Gay Pancakes and Sodomy (For Her), but Pam Belluck of the New York Times has unearthed some startling information regarding gay marriage.

BOSTON — Four years after Massachusetts became the first state to allow gay couples to marry, there have been blissful unions, painful divorces and everything in between.

Some same-sex couples say being married has made a big difference, and some say it has made no difference at all. There are devoted couples who have decided marriage is not for them, couples whose lawyers or accountants advised them against marrying, and couples in which one partner wants to marry but the other does not.

That’s right, homos! It turns out that gay marriage is just like heterosexual marriage, only a lot gayer. Feel free to pause here while you wait for the room to stop spinning.

Now enjoy this tidbit.

For some, the marriage learning curve is steep.

“It’s been a mixed bag,” said Jacob Venter, a 44-year-old child psychiatrist who married Billy Boney, a 36-year-old hairdresser, a month after it became legal to do so. They have disagreements over money, the in-laws and whether to adopt children or have their own.

“Nothing turns out the way you imagine,” Mr. Venter said. “There are no role models for gay marriage.”

Don’t be ridiculous.

For many, the biggest advantages are less quantifiable.

“I feel totally different inside my skin,” said Linda Bailey-Davies, 62, who married her longtime partner, Gloria Bailey-Davies, 67. With marriage, she said, “I felt legitimate in the world.”

Good for them. I’ve long felt the best reason to get married is to build legitimacy in the eyes of others.

Heather and Adrienne Walker believe people better understand the seriousness of their relationship, recognition that is especially valuable to them as mothers of four children in suburban Natick.

“Before marriage was legal, if I called Adrienne my wife, people would say ‘Your what?’ ” Heather Walker said. “But if you say partner, they’re thinking business partner. The knowledge that we are legally married, that they can’t play a semantics game, is very freeing. There’s none of that, ‘but we really need to talk to the actual parents.’ ”

It became particularly embarrassing when Adrienne began routinely attending parent-teacher conferences accompanied by a turkey baster with a glasses & mustache disguise attached to it.

Still, some couples find few significant advantages. Many employers offered health insurance to domestic partners. State taxes can be higher for some couples, and the lack of federal recognition of gay marriage makes lucrative benefits — Social Security, federal tax breaks — off limits.

“I can’t say that anything has changed for us personally,” said David Eppley, who married Chad Garner in 2004.

And that’s where the horror stories begin. Like the one of jilted lover Lance Collins, who is in denial over his partner refusing to marry him. And this one:

Rick Bettencourt, 41, married his partner of 12 years in July 2005, but by September they had broken up, and his partner is now married to another man, he said.

“I knew there was an issue with us prior to the marriage,” Mr. Bettencourt said, “but we thought maybe this is the thing that will help us stay together. Stupid, obviously. It was almost like I needed the marriage in order to consummate the relationship in order to break it up.”

And this one:

Amy Bullock married in 2004 after her partner of nine years said “we’ve got to quick do it because maybe they’ll reverse” the law, Ms. Bullock recalled. They had a child and were considering having another. But five months after the wedding, “she decides she is straight,” Ms. Bullock said.

“Maybe being married triggered those feelings,” she said. “I didn’t see it coming.”

Oh, you wacky gays. What uniquely homosexual breakup story will you come up with next?

Still, despite the horror stories, this article has a happy ending.

Many couples said marriage had made relatives more comfortable with their relationships. Mr. Boney, who is black, was surprised that his “very conservative, very Bible Belt” family in North Carolina welcomed Mr. Venter, a white South African, so warmly. And when his nieces and nephews say “Uncle Jacob,” he said, it “almost brings a tear to my eye; and honey, it takes a lot to bring a tear to my eye.”

And then there are two more paragraphs that suck.

CONGRATULATIONS, CALIFORNIA GAYS!

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