I admit it! I’m a romantic. I prefer the feeling of being with the one I love over just hanging out casually with my friends. When it comes to relationships my vocabulary is usually filled with “soul mates,” “happily ever after,” and “true love.” I can’t help the way I feel about love.
However, there was a time when I was skeptical about the subject of marriage. I did not believe in it and I definitely didn’t want to be a part of it. I have only attended two weddings in my life. Furthermore, the political question of same-sex marriage was a thought I wouldn’t even entertain. Whenever CNN ran a story about the subject the channel was automatically changed.
In my head I kept saying “I don’t want to get married. So I don’t have to worry about those things going on around the country. Why do they want to get married anyway? It’s going to ruin their relationship in the end.” My goal was complete avoidance of the topic.
The hesitance I had of talking about marriage stemmed from my upbringing. From childhood to my adolescent and teenage years, I never saw a happy, successful marriage. Every time I saw a married couple, there would be visual signs of stress and unhappy looks on their faces. I know that marriages aren’t 100 percent solid, but the perceptiveness of youth that allows you to notice the constant sad faces of those in ”wedded bliss” has a lasting effect.
The basis of my hesitant outlook on marriage began in my own home, with my mother and stepfather. My mother dated my stepfather for fourteen years. The reason why I call him my stepfather is because he’s been in my life since I was two years old. It became normal for me to call him “Dad” until my teenage years when I found out he wasn’t.
They were the total embodiment of dysfunction. The happy moments that I witnessed them share together were rare. I always treasured these moments because I never knew if I would see it again. Their relationship was mostly characterized by the two of them arguing. Then when I became a teenager, it became the three of us arguing.
Even though they never married, the topic came up so much that the issues and discussions surrounding it led to their break-up. My stepdad didn’t want to get married and mother jumped to the conclusion that he was never going to and broke up with him. I was happy for that, but not because of the marriage thing.
These were the reasons why I never wanted to get married. All I wanted to do was have a boyfriend that I could spend decades with. I would show him unconditional love without having a ring to prove it. The topic would never come up because I assumed a committed relationship led to the end of everything.
It wasn’t until a few months ago that I realized I was wrong about it entirely.
My friend Suzanne invited me to a dog show in the city. She introduced me to Carl and Zack, a gay couple. Then I looked down and saw Ben, their adopted five year old son. We watched the dog show, ate fried food, and joked about reality shows. It was one of best days I’ve had in a long time.
We went to their apartment after the show, and that’s when the conversation got deep. We started talking about growing up as black homosexual men. For me being 20 years old, it was great listening to them speak about their struggles growing up: homophobia, protecting each other during the rise of HIV/AIDS, fighting for their lives when people threatened to kill them because they were gay, family drama, the adoption of their son, etc.
It all ended in them discussing what they called the happiest two days of their lives. The first day was wedding they had back in New York City. The second one was the adoption of Ben. Carl and Zack have been together for 27 years and married for 5. Hearing their stories made me want to punch myself in the face. I couldn’t believe that my perspective on marriage was wrong on all levels. I used to think that marriage ruined everything, yet I was looking at these two people married and happy. It is possible.
Ever since then, my opinion on marriage has changed. I want to be happily married with the guy I love. I just hope he tolerates my Harry Potter and comic book collections. I want to be in a relationship filled with happiness both before and after the rings are exchanged at the altar.
That’s why I’m happy our president supports this choice. In his eyes, he sees that there is nothing wrong with happily living your life with your partner, whether they are of the same sex or not. We all deserve the same rights and no one should be treated as a second class citizen. People need to catch up with the 21st century, especially Mitt Romney and the citizens of North Carolina.