I just want to clarify what I said to my sister-in-law regarding same-sex marriage and the state. I do want them to get married without the approval of the government, and mainly it is for, yes, selfish and superficial reasons, like, I want to celebrate their commitment to each other now, and I want to be able to refer to her fiancee as her wife or her spouse or whatever they are going to use now instead of whenever either California or Illinois gets off its ass.

But also, I do not believe that what the state grants is the “true” marriage. She said she thinks sometimes about having a “fake” wedding, but, in my opinion, the commitment you make in front of your family, and your friends, and your God or god(s) if you believe in them, and to each other in a ceremony with meaning to you is the real marriage. The state merely agrees to register you as married for their own purposes. I am sure there are many, many human beings in the world who have signed a state marriage license whose relationship is not anywhere near as real as the one my sister-in-law and her fiancee share. In fact, I think the same-sex marriage movement should change its rhetoric from “The state won’t let us get married” to “The state refuses to recognize our marriage.”
I do realize that I get to feel that way – that the marriage is the “real” part and the state license is the “fake” part – because I have the extraordinary privilege of having both. I really do get that and I don’t expect my sister-in-law to accept the state’s lack of recognition for her relationship lying down. I also don’t expect her to have a wedding ceremony because I have a different opinion than she does on this topic. I just wanted to clarify that my position is not, “Fuck marriage,” and “I want to see my daughter in a twirly dress.” Or at least it’s not entirely that.

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