A few years ago, I got into an email argument with a, now former, friend, about marriage equality. I’d use another name for her, but why bother … her name is Meg.
Meg was raised Catholic; she went to Catholic schools and Catholic Church every Sunday. But Meg was not Catholic when I knew her unless Catholic in those days meant using birth control, having sex with several different partners, and living with a man without the benefit of marriage. That was the kind of Catholic Meg was … before she got married and began having her own Catholic children who went to Catholic schools and attended Mass on Sundays.
So, a few years after leaving California, right around the time Britney got married in Vegas for those couple of days, in an email with Meg I brought up the subject of marriage equality. Meg was dead set against it because … Catholic. I railed at her hypocrisy, reminding her of all the unborn children she never had because she used birth control and her boyfriend’s used condoms … not to mention that whole sex without marriage thing.
I simply asked why she believed I couldn’t, and shouldn’t be able to, get married and she said because it was against the teachings of “The Church,” though she seemed to not have a problem disobeying a lot of the teachings that involved her getting off, so to speak.
And when she asked why I wanted to get married, I said because, like everyone else it shows the world your love and commitment and vow to one another, just like she’d done with her marriage. And when I mentioned all the benefits that come with legally being married she asked why Carlos and I didn’t just adopt one another.
That was the end of that. I mean, adoption? I loved Carlos but adoption was for a parent and child, right? I mean, I would never ….
But some gay couples did in the olden days before same-sex marriage became legal everywhere in the country. Some same-sex couples would become parent and child — just on paper — to get the rights they were otherwise denied.
That's what Sergio Cervetti and Ken Rinker [pictured above] did years after meeting in the fall of 1965. Rinker was 19 at the time and just back from a trip to Europe with his student dance troupe when he met Cervetti. Two years later they moved in together and have considered themselves “married” ever since. But, for most of their lives there was no way for them to legally become family and another same-sex couple suggested adoption.
This was they could confer benefits like shared health insurance, make sure their partner was recognized as family in the event one of them became sick or passed away.
So in 2000, Cervetti adopted Rinker. But then, fifteen years later and suddenly the two men could legally marry one another anywhere they lived, and now there was an added dilemma; if they married, Cervetti could go to jail for marrying an adopted child. And so they took their case to court and, in as fast as ten minutes, the adoption was annulled. Just like that, they went from legally father and son to able to marry and in July, three months shy of their 50th anniversary, Cervetti and Rinker were wed.
I am thinking about my former friend Meg today and what she said to me way back when; her views haven’t changed and I am still offended by them. I know now, that for many gay couples, in those dark days where marriage equality seemed like it might never happen, it was the only way to make sure you could stay together as a couple and be protected.
Luckily, we no longer have to even consider that as an option. And even luckier is the knowledge that my marriage to Carlos, legal everywhere in this country, drives my old “friend” crazy.