Monday, January 25, 2010

One and fifteen

Yesterday was our first wedding anniversary. This year is also the fifteenth year we’ve been together. So yesterday we talked a little about which anniversary we should observe. We didn’t choose between them.

Up until 2005, there was no way for same-sex couples to have their relationships recognised under law. When the Civil Unions Act came into force, it became possible for same-sex couples to have a wedding—and so, a wedding anniversary—just like opposite-sex couples among their friends and families. Before that law, same-sex couples would do what they’d done for generations: Pick as an anniversary a date that had special meaning for them. We picked the date I arrived in New Zealand, since that’s when our life together began.

We’d already been together nearly ten years when the Civil Unions Act came into force. It took us a few more years to get around to getting the Civil Union. So now we find ourselves in the unusual position of having our first anniversary in the same year we have our fifteenth. Some day we may settle on one or the other, but not yet.

I admit, it kind of annoys me that, actuarially speaking, we’re unlikely to make it to our 50th wedding anniversary—even though we could very well be together for 50 years. But I’m ecstatic that we’re likely to be the last generation to face that: Couples now will probably end up designating their civil union date, their wedding anniversary, as the date they and their friends and families celebrate.

To be treated the same as our heterosexual brothers and sisters has been the point of this struggle all along. In this one area, in too few places, we’re achieving that. There’s so much work left to be done, but let’s celebrate the small things that mark our passage to equality. To me, a wedding anniversary—something I never expected to have—is a good place to start.

But you know what? None of that political stuff would matter at all to me if I didn't have someone wonderful to share it with. A year ago I gained more than a series of wedding anniversaries: I got to declare to the whole world that, under law, I was with the person who was, to me, the most important person in the world. To me, that's even more important.

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