Reposted from unapologeticliberal777 by Chrislove
I have been sitting here for thirty minutes struggling with that question.
Because of a diary sitting at the top of Community Spotlight section on Daily Kos written by kay3295 titled "My Gay Wedding Story." If you have not read it, I strongly urge you to read it as the writer does an amazing job of capturing the emotional roller coaster that gay couples experience, regardless of where you get married, what decade you get married in, or whether or not your marriage is "legal."
I understand what the emotional roller coaster feels like as I married my partner in 1992, four years before DOMA was signed into law by then President Bill Clinton, after "liberal" members of the U. S. Senate, including Paul Wellstone, Barbara Mikulski, Tom Harkin, Patty Murray, Patrick Leahy, and Dick Durbin, voted for DOMA.
Needless to say, 1992 was not a great time for a man to marry another man, in terms of being accepted by society as a whole. It was tough to get your family, friends, and co-workers to accept the fact that you are gay, never mind marrying your partner.
We got married on September 9, 1992 - so this was before Bill Clinton and Al Gore won the presidential election in November of 1992. The political environment had been horrible for gay folks for pretty much an eternity, or since 20000 B.C., whichever is longer. But things seemed to get so much worse with the AIDS crisis that began in 1980. Society stood by, demonizing gays for starting the "gay plague" while tens of thousands died. It was so painful to watch your friends who had become your "family" waste away and die a slow, miserable death. My heart still aches for some of my friends, who were struggling emotionally trying to understand why everyone sat back and did nothing, as the virus decimated their immune systems and they could no longer take care of themselves. And most held one individual responsible for it all and became the "poster child" for societies indifference to gay men who were dying of AIDS - and that was president Ronald Reagan. But of course, that is a whole other diary.
So fast forward to 1990 when I met my partner. It was two years after President George H. W. Bush won election to the presidency via an ad he ran about a murderer/rapist named Willie Horton who Governor Dukakis had let out on a furlough from prison and who then raped and murdered a woman. By 1992, gays were so for down the societal ladder, I heard one guy say that Willie Horton had a better moral compass than gays did - that is where things stood.
But I used that negative energy to build my confidence after watching members of Act-Up publicly fight the FDA over AIDS drugs and how their "in your face" style of protest, actually having shut down the FDA in October of 1988, surprisingly was able to shift public opinion and force the FDA to move drugs through the regulatory process quicker to battle AIDS and in order to save lives.
So I was standing tall at that point, after being closeted for so long, I was happy to have someone I loved in my life, and I absolutely LOVED fighting conservatives in the political arena, but especially all the fundamentalist Christians out there, who I loved exposing for the frauds that they still are today. But my whole world came crashing down.
I was so stupid. As I said, I loved fighting the fight in the political arena, but was becoming frustrated that we were making little headway on a number of progressive issues, including gay rights. But then, my wedding invitations were mailed out and the bottom of my world fell out and I quickly learned why we were not making headway politically.
They say all politics is local - and it's true. Clearly, things were moving so slowly on the national political front, because for so many members of the gay community in those days, we couldn't gain acceptance from our friends and family.
I called my parents in 1991 and told them I was gay. We lived on different coasts so I had to do it by telephone - but to be honest, I was terrified to tell my parents in person, not so much my dad, but my mom, so of course I did it by telephone. And of course the telephone conversation went the way I figured it would.
I called my parents in the summer of 1992 and told them I was getting married, then mailed the invitation to them. I called a week later and resigned myself to the fact that this was not going over well and they wouldn't be attending. I called my siblings and told them of my big news, and with most of them, it went over like a lead balloon, but even those who were supportive couldn't attend. I started telling friends as well and while some were supportive, but a lot were clearly uncomfortable and many couldn't attend our wedding due to "family obligations." I never saw most of them after that.
Surprisingly, the most supportive group were my co-workers. Seven of the eight I invited from work came to the wedding, but the one that did not, who had actually become close to my partner, betrayed us, and faxed our invitation to other offices around the country where I had worked previously, and where I still had good friends working. Needless to say, all of that caused me a lot of grief for me and my friends and highlighted one more instance of betrayal by someone I thought was a good friend. But I weathered the storm, things settled down, and after that experience, I decided I didn't give a rats ass what anyone thought of me, and my life became so much better after adopting that attitude.
I got married on September 9, 1992 at home in front of some friends, a ton of neighbors, and my co-workers. The ceremony was conducted by a minster from the local Unitarian Church. My partner had the whole event catered, and turned our home upside down, having had all the furniture hauled away and put in storage, and turned the house it into a wedding venue like nothing I had ever seen even in a magazine - everything was done in white, from the flowers to our tuxedos. All I had to do was show up, say "I Do," and have a blast with the guy who meant everything to me. Everyone had a blast, the whole affair went on until 4:00 a.m., and it was a day I will never forget. And even though our marriage was not recognized legally, I really liked having the control of doing it the way we wanted to do it without fighting the government to do it or having to wait until the government said it was okay to do it. There was no political will for gay marriage back then. I don't even recall it being a political issue, so you did what you had to do to be happy and move your lives forward and we did just that. And I loved the fact that we did it without societies approval - we did it on our own terms.
So, that was my gay wedding experience.
It's quite difference from what a lot of gay couples experience today. Clearly, society is much more supportive of gays getting married, as are friends, family and co-workers, for the most part. And with the expected ruling by the Supreme Court this June, marriage equality will be the law of the land, as it should be, and as it should have been a long time ago.
Everyone deserves to have the right to marry the person they love.
A big thank you and shout out to kay3295 for her dairy and congratulations to her and her new bride. Your diary really triggered a lot of emotions in me this morning. I felt compelled to write about my experience as a result. And although it has been really tough for me writing this diary and feeling so vulnerable by putting all these emotions into words, I also feel good having shared it as well.
Peace to all.