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Today I did something that I have been thinking about for quite a while. I rose from the chain in front of my computer, walked across the hall to where my partner was working on her computer, and asked for her complete attention. She is my favorite human being, she has stood by me through thick and thin, and I can’t imagine my life without her. This is why I couldn’t wait any longer. I got down on one knee, looked into those eyes that hold so much insight, and proposed divorce. There was a second or two where I didn’t know what her response would be. Was I getting ahead of myself? Was this just a crazy impulsive idea? Then her eyes lit up, she smiled that hate melting grin of hers, and she accepted!

Six years ago, when Rebecca and I got married, we were like most couples. We understood that the world wasn’t quite right, but neither of us knew what to do about it. Together, we protested and wrote letters, hoping to change the system, but for the most part lived like average people. Working jobs, watching television, and enjoying trips together. Rebecca and I fell in love extremely quick; I knew I loved her almost the first time we touched, four months later we were living together, and six months after that we were in the same car, backseat full of possessions, moving to Colorado. When we got there, it only seemed to right to take our love to the next level. There was a desire to celebrate our love in front of our families. And because it was the only way we knew how, we decided to get married.

After several discussions, we agreed on a few important things; we wouldn’t continue on the ‘normal’ path of debt achievement, no houses would be mortgaged (especially houses with picket fences), neither of us wanted to put a desire for money over our relationship, and we agreed in our opposition to the birthing of the obligatory 2.3 children.

As the years went by views on matrimony (and most other things) began to change; while still believing it was the ultimate way to express love, it was bothersome that we were allowed to commit this act while some of our friends were not, simply because they were in love with someone who had the same genitals. While there was never a discussion of divorce as a form of protest, we learned that some of our friends refuse to get married until everyone has the right to marry.

About a year and a half ago my driver’s license got suspended and I decided to try something. Instead of paying my old tickets (plus fees) and then going to the DMV and paying a restitution fee, I would refuse. The state is less and less valid in my eyes. I never agreed to follow the rules, so why should I have to? The state doesn’t recognize my beliefs, why should I recognize theirs? I know I can drive (better than 90% of people who have actual driver’s licenses), so why should I need the state to agree with me. For the next year and a half I drove without a license (including from Colorado to NJ and back, Los Angeles to Portland and back, and Colorado to Oregon) without any consequences. I don’t drive anymore, but if I need to and I get in trouble I will accept it without giving in.

Along that same line of thinking, Rebecca and I had another conversation about marriage. In the end we agreed again on some new things and began what will be a longer process of renegotiating the terms of our partnership. Operating a business together almost tore us apart, finding each other again under new terms feels like another situation where there is a desire to ritualize this new stage. We want to celebrate our love with everyone, but why does it have to be a ceremony recognized by the state? Why do we have to get a license proving that we want to spend our lives together? Most importantly, if we’re working every day to become less and less dependent on the state, why are we continuing to ask them for validation.

Is our love only meaningful if the government says it is? Why do hospitals and insurance companies limit partnerships defined by the state? Why do people in loveless, abusive marriages get tax breaks, while people in beautiful unions do not? How many of these state institutions can we exist without? In the end we’ve come to the realization that marriage in present day has more to do with non-love related issues than it does about matters of the heart, and it begs the question: How does this taint the way we express our love?

Much like our wedding, we have entered the planning stages. It feels so much more meaningful and real than planning our wedding. I would be willing to bet that we will argue much less than we did while trying to figure out where to hold our wedding, who to invite, and how much to spend on food. If you are our friend, expect an invitation soon.

WHAT I’VE BEEN READING

Anti-Fascist motorcycle gangs are all the rage. Anyone with a bike in the Portland area who wants to start one?

The Red Cross has proven, once again, to be one of the most corrupt and disgusting organizations around. I’ll write more about this in the future.

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9 thoughts on “Recognize This

  1. i am so unbelievably moved by you, Ryan, and your inspiring partner. I want to cry because so many humans on this earth are talkers. They call themselves queer allies while engaging in hetero-normative behaviors in the comfort of their homes with their 2.5 kids and ….

    You have always been a man of action. You move while you speak.

    Thus, you move me.

  2. I suppose it would be mercenary to point out that there are tax benefits from marriage. It is much nobler of you to reject marriage when not everyone can enjoy its benefits

  3. I feel like the benefits are like a bribe. The government needs more children to fill its factories and battlefields, and this comes mostly from married people.
    I also think the members of our (and any) government are some of the most despicable people on earth and to accept their benefits would make me feel like I’m supporting them.
    Thanks for you comments, I enjoy your writing

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