A gay marriage, like most facets of a life outside the closet, requires a Janus face. One set of eyes looks to the mundane future — the joy of endless Sunday oatmeal and Monday alarm clocks, 11 pm dog walks and an extra glass of wine on Thursday nights. The other looks back – at pink triangles and Nana Boo Mack, bar raids and “UR So Gay.” The gulf between is deep, and stagnant with the muck of responsibility. My wedding had people of all identities and orientations coming together for a single queer cause, but it was not a rally. I felt I had paid for that luxury with all the past actions attended, with written calls to arms, with the handcuffs on my wrists outside of Nancy Pelosi’s office.
That said, my wedding was not a Macklemore video. If anything, it was more like an Alan Hollinghurst rewrite of The Walking Dead. No zombies (not before the sticky came out), just a lot of different gays with a lot of different value sets, left with their own base natures in the woods. We had ecologists and transit geeks, runners and rock climbers, libertarians and democrats, new lovers and longtime couples, libertines and monogamistsd. In short, gay people.
Four months before, my then-fiance and I were celebrating our sixth anniversary in California when DOMA fell. We’re among the first wave of men to legally wed in this country’s history. But we’re cis men with white skin and fat-enough wallets. For G’s like us marriage equality is one of our last institutional hurdles to equal citizenships. Our country’s fractured identity politics means that many other’s across the LBGT spectrum can’t say that. Terror that my special day meant the end of public goodwill for all those queer folks not terminally liberated sept through the weekend like a cracked lube bottle in a freshly-packed overnight bag.
It’s not like we drank, hugged, laughed, fought or fucked more than normal that weekend. I can’t say we partied in the face of hate or in anticipation of the battles we still had to win. But I can say we were celebrating something greater than ourselves. If a busload of gay men in the Maryland woods at a Catholic/Jewish/Buddhist gay wedding can’t feel free, then I’d hasten to say that true freedom doesn’t exist.