Dear, [name redacted]
As a married man myself, I know the uncontainble cocktail of emotions you are surely feeling right now. A little scared but a lot excited, you are likely feeling your nerves dance in ways that you've never felt before. I know. I've been there. This, the time immediately proceeding your marriage milestone, is terribly exhilirating.
Yet despite your outsized role in trying to deny me of my own marriage rights, I can promise you one thing: I will not make any attempt to pooh pooh on your special day. I sincerely believe that you, like all brides and grooms-to-be, deserve this time to make your own special memories with your friends, family, and (especially) soon-to-be spouse. So go ahead and make those last minute plans, sow those final wild oats, obsessively check your registry for newly purchased gifts, and get incredibly excited about whatever honeymoon you might have planned. Seriously—I insist! I want you to have this time to bathe in the outpouring of love. I know firsthand how special this time is, and you don't need the likes of me crashing any of the fun.
That being said, I do ask that you stop and take just twenty minutes away from this wedding roller coaster that you are currently apexing on and think about this process you are entering and relate it back to your work as one of America's more visible opponents of marriage equality for same-sex couples. Just take a short breather and think—clearly, rationally, and without the din of noise that comes from the usual "culture war" back-and-forth—about the work you have chosen as your paid gig. Some suggested points of consideration:
- Remember that according to your fellow anti-gay crusader Tony Perkins, marriage is NOT about love. As Perkins says: "If 'love' becomes the definition of what the boundaries of marriage are ... (blah blah blah, polygamy, blah blah blah) ... If it's all about just 'love' as it's being used, where do we set the lines?"
"The argument is being made by those trying to redefine marriage as saying that it's all based on 'love.' You ought to be able to marry who you 'love,' isn't that what they're saying?"
—Tony Perkins, anti-love activist?
- Think about the petty fires you're having to extinguish right now, from seating arrangements that separate sparring family members to rehearsal dinner options that don't ably accommodate your cousin's gluten intolerance. Now add on an extra layer of controversy about whether or not your are even allowed to marry the person you love. Sounds annoying, right?
- When your ceremony reaches its "speak now or forever hold your piece" line, imagine having within your head a mishmash of soundbites, catch phrases, and political slogans that various members (i.e. you) of various special interest groups (i.e. your employer) have opted to put on the public record, telling other married couples (i.e. me) that their relationship isn't good enough to be recognized.
- Scared it might rain on your big day? Been there! But you know what? It's nothing compared to the fear that your marriage may be forcefully taken from you (i.e. what your employer would like to see in terms same-sex couples, if allowed to extend its goals) or the fear that someone is going to physically attack you when they see you walking hand-in-hand with your new spouse (i.e. something that anti-LGBT campaigns foster, whether you realize/admit it or not).
- Honeymooning in another state or country? Just imagine that, when you leave your current state, you and your new spouse suddenly become strangers in the eyes of the law. Same-sex couples don't have to imagine it—that's what happens to us whenever we cross state lines or international waters. We're constantly have to play the "Are we still married here?" game. It's oh so much fun, trust me.
- On a similar note, just imagine if you had to declare yourself legally single when going through customs, despite having been recently legally (and blissfully) married. That actually happened to my husband and me on our honeymoon. "Then tell them you are brothers," advised the intermediate official between us and the gate when we refused to approach one at a time.
- Not planning on having kids immediately following your wedding? Weird, because to hear your organization tell it, there's no purpose to your marriage other than reproduction. Guess you two should put all of your rights, benefits, and protections on pause until you do choose to have little ones—right?
To name just a few concerns that same-sex couples and our allies know all too well. Concerns, I must remind you, that you and your organization profit handsomely from.
But let me say again that I don't want you spending a ton of time focusing on this because I sincerely do want you to soak in all of the amazing vibes and intense experiences that are about to greet you. Truly. I hope the influx of emotion in the days to come makes you both laugh and cry more powerfully than you ever have. I hope this exciting solidification of your bond makes you feel as if you and your newly cemented partner for life can take on any obstacle that is laid before you. I hope, by the end of your special night, the world falls away to where it becomes only you two—alone, embracing, swaying, unstoppable—both sighing in relief that you made it through and comforted by the sense that you always will.
For twenty minutes, however, I do want you to think about the career you have chosen for yourself; consider the ill-conceived talking points that you've been tasked with reciting, relate your political cause back to the thoroughly human (and uniting, ideally) experience you are going through, and process the fact that your work negatively affects so many of your fellow citizens in very real and demonstable ways. Right now you are entering into one of life's few and great escapes; it's one of those times when you get a pass from being a responsbile and productive person. But when the honeymoon is over and you get back to your daily grind, you will again become an osbtacle preventing millions of loving people, just like yourself, from reaching his and her one sweet day.
At least that's what you did during your single years. Here at a time of a new life with your new spouse, you could drop the something old (your job), something borrowed (the talking points that "cutlure war" elders have passed own), and something blue (the mental state your work has brought to millions of psyches) and instead turn over a new leaf. That would be a true gift.
P.S. Remember to pee before you walk down the aisle. Trust me.