this post in the New York Times, from a long-married Seattle woman, who talks about how the passage of marriage equality in Washington state has affected, profoundly, her views on the terms, husband and wife. In the article, she talks about how she watched gay couples begin to apply for licenses and marry in Seattle and says:
"My friends stayed up all night in a festival of appreciation for being allowed to inhabit roles I had spoken of with boredom and irony. I had never been one to cry at weddings, but on Dec. 6, and all through the weekend, I kept welling up — seeing the pictures and listening to the radio and witnessing all around me the exhilaration being kindled by marriage.
"Anthony and I went to our first legal gay wedding on Sunday, Dec. 9. The requisite three days after being licensed, the grooms said “husband” to each other, and it gave us all chills. For them to take a husband, for real and for true, in the eyes not just of God but of everybody, was indeed a gift. Days later, when my friend Kayleen referred to Cathy as “my wife,” there wasn’t an air quote for miles. She said it the same way she said “the love of my life."
Read the rest of the article--it's pretty amazing--here.
The piece made me think about things at our house--we were one of those first couples to get married on December 9 and how I have to check myself now from saying, "my partner" and saying instead, "my husband." It's a good feeling, but one that I've found takes a little courage. Last Friday, I was out shopping and talking to a clerk in a store and wanted to tell her that I'd bring Bruce back the next day to see something I'd found. In my mind, I started to say, "my partner" but then I stopped myself, took a deep breath, and said, "my husband."
It was a bit of a monumental moment for me--the first time I had uttered the phrase in public to a stranger. The old part of me, the one who once lived in a closet, was fearful and wanted me to keep that term to myself because, in effect, I was outing myself to a stranger. There could be repercussions or laughter or at the very last, rolled eyes.
But I said I'd bring "my husband" back the next day, claiming the word, finally, as rightfully mine to say.
The clerk didn't bat an eye.