The equality movement is chugging along like a freight train with the lights on and the horn blaring. Living in the south, we are well aware that our home state is resisting change and pushing back with anti-gay legislation. After becoming a brand new family of three, waiting for marriage equality in Tennessee had become less desirable and frustrating. I have always joked about shotgun weddings, but I believe there is some subconscious thought process after a child is on the way that made us both start to plan the “official” happily ever after.
A date was set while both Matthew and I were on paternity leave. The three of us would travel to Washington, DC for the time needed to apply for a marriage license, the three-day wait period and the actual ceremony. We carefully debated the idea of inviting our parents, but after the adoption process that was still ongoing, our new little family will be the only ones participating in a very private ceremony. I am sure there are many of you that can relate with me on this, the adoption process is very open and public. You are constantly networking in an effort to reach potential expecting mothers who are considering adoption for their unborn child. Our previous 14 months had been a frenzy of emotions and exhaustion and this was our chance to share a special moment without the worry of planning, catering, hotels and everyone commuting seven hours to the nation’s capital.
Our marriage trip was spectacular. The decision to have a private ceremony as a family was the perfect way to celebrate and enter into this life long commitment. Words cannot describe this beautiful day that will forever be imprinted in my mind. The weather was phenomenal. Harper looked beautiful in her white dress. Yes, someone had to be in a white dress. Instead of a wedding cake, we celebrated with a street vendor hot dog. Our wedding was one of a kind!
Our Mini Wedding Album
There are several things that I learned on our journey to marriage and parenthood. The majority of people support equality. A large majority! We were very concerned with possible reactions that we might receive when applying for a marriage license. Everyone was spectacular and Harper stole the show. Living in Tennessee, we have been beyond surprised by the outpouring of support and encouragement from our community. This experience was very moving for both of us and we are optimistic about full equality, even in the south, as days pass by.
People consider our relationship as newlyweds and think it is a fairly new commitment. We have now been married for almost six months, and our lives technically are no different from before. Matthew and I would have married years ago if it were not for discriminatory laws in Tennessee. It seems like we hear the word commitment a lot. “Marriage is a huge commitment” and “We are excited for your commitment.” The truth is, our commitment started six years ago. March 11, 2008 we made our commitment to each other. The major difference is the lack of commitment many states have towards their citizens and recognizing their commitment to marriage equality.