Snacktime in the Meadow of Love: My Third Wedding Anniversary

Today is the third anniversary of my wedding.

Yet, I am alone at my friends’ home and assume my wife is at work. Happy anniversary!

Yesterday, I looked at our wedding album, reread the newspaper coverage of the wedding, and – even though I was sad – I remembered how happy and excited I felt that day.

I consider our true anniversary to be July 18, the date we became a couple in 2003. Back then, we had no hope of a legal marriage. In 2006, we registered as domestic partners through the City of Pittsburgh. In 1997, my wife was instrumental as a volunteer lawyer with the ACLU in bringing domestic partner benefits to the City of Pittsburgh employees.

I wonder if my generation will always see domestic partner benefits as the real win, unlike Baby Boomers and Millenials?

There is not true equality of marriage in Pennsylvania. Our Commonwealth has an active so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on the state books, dormant after then Governor Tom Wolf decided not to appeal a pro-marriage equality ruling in Whitewood v Wolf in 2014. As recently as 2023, several members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives attempted to repeal the legislation, but were unsuccessful.

Pennsylvania also has not extended non-discrimination protections statewide; local ordinances protect about a third of the Commonwealth. This deters marriage because a marriage license is a public document. So is a divorce petition. Domestic partner registries are often considered personnel or human resources documents and thus subject to a degree of privacy.

For the record, marriage equality for some people with disabilities is not legal yet, either.

Divorce equality is definitely not a thing in Pennsylvania.

Of course, I’m sad today. 20 years of my life, disrupted. Abruptly.

But I made a conscious choice to celebrate this occasion in my own way. My nephew took me to Starbucks this morning and we had a lovely chat as we sipped our hot beverages in the parking lot. Then we went to the paint store. Dinner tonight.

The traditional gift for the 3rd aniversary is leather. I purchased our gifts for our 1st and 2nd anniversaries, so I decided to continue that tradition and purchase something leather for myself – a compass engraved with “May you always find your way home” in a leather pouch. That’s quite symbolic for me on multiple levels. I’ll be returning home next month thanks to my lawyer and your donations to pay for her.

What’s to say? One officiant donated to my legal fund; the other obliviously offered to tell me about another lesbian feminist wedding she officiated attended* after our rupture. There are a lot of ways to respond, I guess. Some really wound, others offer support. Ruptures have ripples. Fortunately, a lot of good folks have rippled quite well.

I’m choosing to keep honoring myself where I am right now until I know what comes next.

Also, please consider donating to my legal fund, I am terrified of not being able to pay my lawyer down the road.

Snacktime in the Meadow of Love is the title of the painting local artist Kai Devenitch gave to the “fiber” (canvas) gift for our 2nd wedding anniversary.

I’m blue today, but I’ll survive.


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