The front-page article in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine looked at the twenty-something married couples sprouting up after Massachusetts made it legal for gays and lesbians to wed.
The author talks about a conversation he had with other young gay Bostonians in 2004.
In the end, most of us agreed that we would like to be married — just not yet. We still had a lot of living, and growing up, to do. While many of our heterosexual peers undoubtedly did as well, we were immune from the pressure some of them felt to marry. No one — not our friends, not our families, not the gay community — expected us to wed.
By that time, my partner and I had been “married” for two years and were in our mid-20s. I put the word in quotation marks because, as I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, our relationship is not recognized by the State of South Carolina.
The story is an interesting read in showing the ways that we’ve come a long way (the lesbian-Uhaul joke has been passed on to the world) and in the ways we haven’t (one groom-to-be doesn’t talk to his family about his sexuality). The way our families responded (and in one case, didn’t respond) to the news of our wedding plans was one of the more emotional aspects of the whole event.
This paragraph from the NYT story sums it all up.
But most of the young married men I spent time with insisted their marriages weren’t a “reaction” to anything. They valued their connection to modern gay culture, and they weren’t interested in choosing between being a married man and a young gay man. They could be both, and they could make it work.
I found the story less about marriage as much as it was about young gay couples. The nervous excitement about the wedding day was the same for Shane and I in the backyard of our friends house in Columbia as it seemed for these couples on the courthouse steps in Boston. There were only a few words peppered in the story that sounded different: alimony, shared last names, marriage license.
That said, we’re still quite the oddity in our social circle. A few weeks back, we ran into another couple at the gay bar and excitedly chatted amongst ourselves. And gay guys we meet do look at us with shock when we tell them we’ve been together eight years. But, of course, that’s the “bar crowd.” I know there are suburban couples who make it out to the club on rare occasions, but are happy to live out of that scene.