Our Groundhog Day Wedding Anniversary

“Snack Time in the Meadow of Love” by Kai Devenitch

Today marks two years since Laura and I had our backyard COVID-19 wedding.

It was brief, simple, and cold. We made it into the ‘Society’ section of the Pittsburgh City Paper. We have a nice little registry and occasionally still get a surprise from it.

And we have this Kai Devenitch original artwork to commemorate all of it. I think of this painting each time I see our local groundhogs heading for our cat food feeding station. They know we take good care of them.

We chose February 2 as our wedding date because it would be easy to remember. When you are a queer couple from pre-ME days, anniversaries can include the day you met, the first date, the first ILY, and the day you move in together. It is a moving target because it is highly personal and rarely connected to any formal legal arrangements. It is a way of telling time for our relationship and our lives.

Groundhog’s Day is more than a Punxatawney holiday. It has ties to the fanciest celebration of Imholc, a seasonal turning point or cross-quarter day

 In astronomical terms, the cross-quarter days, fall midway between a solstice and an equinox. Imholc falls between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It marks the beginning of spring. It is an agrarian holiday, a way to tie the passage of time to our everyday experiences at a time when day lengths are increasing again. Imholc is typically observed from Feb 1- Feb 2. It was Christianized into Candlemas and also St. Brigid’s Day. And by Germanic emigrants to Pennsylvania, Groundhog’s Day.

The way we acknowledge, the way we celebrate, the mythology may change. But the reason we need these celebrations and holidays stays the same – we need to mark the passage of time which for us in this dimension is both cyclical (seasonal) and linear (years.)

So maybe for us, our wedding date was staking a claim to something bigger than us – a day to remember, a day when light lengthens and life is renewed. When we look forward. Even to reflect upon the truth that we can be married and have more rights and that how we move through these past two years as a family has been different than before marriage equality.

Getting married wasn’t what I thought. Very few people acknowledged our wedding, even our family. We did see some immediate benefits in terms of our legal relationship. But given that we had been together for 17+ years ahead of the wedding, not much changed.

Until Roe was overturned. That’s when we recognized the fragility of our union, just like the fragility of our privacy as women. Pennsylvania has a so-called-Defense of Marriage Act on the books so if federal court opinions were undermined, marriage equality would no longer be legal in Pennsylvania. I’m sure it would be grandfathered to include us, but that’s cold comfort.

I hope the General Assembly finds enough Republican Senators to repeal the DOMA and then get to work on codifying second parent adoption along with hate crimes and nondiscrimination law. Every second matters in today’s world.

In the meantime, I have an anniversary to celebrate. First, I have a dinnertime meeting online. So I’ll be enjoying heated up leftovers and a cute little white cake I picked up today. We’ll get out to dinner this weekend. And enjoy the extra bit of light our relationship brings to this world.

Photo by Jared Wickerham


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