On May 20, Judge John E. Jones III struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage. On that day, I met couples that have been together for many years; one couple in particular that have been together for forty years. They had long decided to spend their lives together and getting a marriage license was a natural and unquestioned step for them. I met couples that had been married in another state who with confidence in their legal standing were now ready to start a family. I met couples who took the new opportunity to marry in stride and became engaged. I met people in relationships for a handful of years who were suddenly sweating at the realistic possibility of legal commitment. I met people who were single and excited by their newfound dignified existence under the law. I met people who think of marriage as a twisted cultural construct.
There are many different ways to relate to one another. This shift in law removes the veil of possibility and pushes the choices we make in those relationships into reality. This is an opportunity to check in and reflect on what makes you happy, what kind of relationship you need to be happy, and what is the healthiest way to exist in that relationship.
If you would’ve asked me even just a few months ago why I joined the fight for marriage equality in Pennsylvania, I would’ve told you that: In addition to supporting my friends and my community, I was fighting to protect my future family. Because when I found someone whom I loved dearly and they returned that love to me, no backwards law or mislead policy was going to keep me from being able to care for them and the family we create together. No way in Hell. It wasn’t until after it became legal to marry same gender in Pennsylvania that I began to challenge myself on that objective.
I don’t think this is scenario where it is all about the chase and now that I have the option, I don’t want it. I still feel that marriage will happen in my lifetime. I just never questioned that one day I would get married; it was an inevitability. I started to reflect on where these images about marriage have come from. We live in a culture the commercially feeds all of us an end game. It tells us to “go to college,” not to think deeply. It tells us to “be skinny”, not to be healthy. It tells us to “get married,” not to enter in to glorifying relationships. Marriage is a choice. I met enough couples in the last week that have given huge parts of themselves to one another, not to take that lightly. Not to assume that is something that deep and complex just happens in a lifetime. Now that we, as same-gender loving people, have the right to get married, don’t forget that you get to choose it.
Bring glory to yourself, hold close to those that bring glory to you. Find the right way to keep them in your life. And maybe one day you will marry that person. If not, your love is still glorifying and productive.