Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Gay Divorcee

The first state-sanctioned gay marriages in the US began in 2004. Guess who is now divorced? Hillary and Julie Goodridge, the lead plaintiffs in the Massachusetts court case that brought gay marriage to that state.  So I'm in good company?

B and I went down to get our marriage license on the first day they were offered in D.C.  It was a lot of fun with people giving out cupcakes and flowers and a long line of diverse couples.  We were couple 80-something.  And I've wondered if we are the first couple from that day to get divorced.  Probably not, probably at least one of those couples freaked out within the first year and decided to split.

And on that day we were minor gay marriage poster children.  We were on the tv news.  Funny story: so apparently it's actually quite difficult to stand outside a courthouse and figure out which people walking out the building are part of a soon-to-be gay-married couple and who are just random work friends going to lunch.  So the news crew wasn't approaching anyone until they saw us walk out, me carrying the flower that I was given in line.

The charming Jim Darling took our picture.  If you need a portrait or some wedding photography, you should look him up here.

If you've been reading here, you know I am no fan of marriage as a system of distributing rights and privilege.  Remaining married isn't an issue of moral obligation to me.  But I do think that if a couple chooses to get married by the state and make that public commitment it comes with an ethical obligation to try and stay married.  And within that framework, four years of marriage seems pretty pathetic.

B says she feels no particular shame as a gay divorcee, but I'll admit to a twinge.  I think that twinge comes from the hubris of thinking that it would never be us who would split, that somehow we were different than all the divorced straight couples we know, that we would cope every so gracefully with the pressures that face all couples.  Pride comes before fall.


  1. I think just as many of us were same sex family pioneers, some of us are just bound to be gay divorcee pioneers. Someone has to blaze the path for the others. Nice to see a mature adult handling it with grace and dignity.

  2. You mean, not out in the driveway smashing a La Cruset casserole dish with a sledgehammer? Sadly I don't own a sledgehammer ;)