On Marriage


New Zealand passed marriage equality today. I wasn’t writing this blog when the UK parliament added gay marriage to civil unions (though that is still ongoing logistically, the biil has passed). These moments make me so happy and thankful to be living where and when I am, to have been born when I was.

Whenever I refer to B, I either say my partner or my wife. Mostly, I say my wife. I say we got married. I say she’s the Best Wife Ever, and she says the same thing about me. We (and most of the “civilly partnered” couples I know) have already co-opted the language of marriage. But it is nice to have that made official.

When I was in my twenties, before I met B, before I’d been in love really, I thought this sort of thing didn’t matter. I didn’t believe in marriage, and if I’d ended up with a man, I would never have gotten married. I think the institution is patriarchal, and its history so horrific for women, its very vows based in inequality – I never thought I would get married. And I didn’t get involved in the fight for gay marriage. I wanted equal rights, and I understood the large scale argument about the importance of equal rights, but didn’t really want the institution of marriage for myself.

The ignorance of youth I guess. The ignorance of not being in love, more like. B changed my attitude very quickly. And I guess it is true that the more politics applies to you, the more you care, because I certainly was a lot more concerned with equal marriage after B. Though that being said, maybe it’s just age and experience, because as much as I care about equal marriage, if B didn’t want to, I wouldn’t actually convert our Civil Partnership to marriage – I like the idea of committing to each other forever without necessarily bringing all the weight of the problematic history of marriage along.

But I want the option. And now, if I lived in New Zealand (and in the UK at some unknown future date) I’d have it. Today is a good day.

  1. It is a good day, it IS! Yay for us in NZ. If only I had known how soon gay marriage would become legal here, we would have waited instead of having a civil union in Feb 12. We are going to have another wedding, just a small one at some time in the future, now that it’s properly legal.

    • In the UK there’s supposed to be some process by which we can just change over our civil partnership into marriage. Not that there’s much clarity about it!

      • Yes I think they will have a way of doing it paperwork-wise only…but when we got married I was frustrated how the celebrant was not legally allowed to say a number of words I wanted used like: ‘marriage’, ‘wedding’, ‘wife’ etc. I want a ceremony that announces us legally wed and uses lots of those words that I feel are so much more romantic than the formal wording we had to use. Although our ceremony and vows were absolutely beautiful, in those parts where the legal wording had to be used I felt like it was a business transaction or a government document we were negotiating.

      • We actually did the legal bit completely separately – we only brought two witnesses, and don’t use that day as our anniversary. Then we had our “real wedding”, we ran our own ceremony, had all our family and friends, and didn’t use any legal language at all. It was actually better this way than it would have been if we could have been “married” as civil marriage in the UK is very legal-sounding as well!

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