6/27/15

How a little day turns into a big day

I got up yesterday and quilted for a while, walked, and got ready for work.  It was a normal day.  I even posted a quilting post.  I got to the office and answered my email.  Rob texted me about the SCOTUS decision and I started to read the news.  That probably was the end of my work day.  I don't think I accomplished anything much after that. 

I remember that the first time I cried was when I saw that our County Clerk, who has been trying to marry gay people since the idea was first introduced, and has managed to get a few through during narrow windows, was starting to issue licenses.  I'm pretty sure I made a sound that the cube farmers around me heard.  Oh, well.  I was very emotional.

Rob called.  He and Syd were on the way to a store that specializes in flags.  He had called and put a rainbow flag on hold.  This is the call where I asked him to marry me.  I think I actually said "Do you want to go down there?". So unromantic.  Because it was understood.  We both knew we would be going soon, but yesterday was hot and it was already late in the day to be waiting outside for anything, even something as important as marriage.  The pictures of the clerks office on the news looked like there was a long line outside the building so he was going up there to see how long the line really was, and call me if I should come up and join him.

Rob's next call was to say that when they got to the flag store, the City of Austin was trying to find a rainbow flag to fly at City Hall, and Rob had the last one on hold.  And, would he mind giving it up to the City for them to fly.  He even got to talk to the city official who offered to try to get it back to Rob when it comes down.  No promises, but he'd try.  Rob was on cloud 9.  We decided to meet for lunch at the best burger place in town and while we were there, sitting in a crowded restaurant, we talked about the practical aspects of getting married while Sydney munched her burger and pretended that she wasn't listening.  We talked about our finances and what getting married meant, and what it didn't mean.  And, we talked about the practicality of trying to do it on the first day, and the danger of waiting.  In the end, after much going back and forth, Rob asked what I wanted to do and I said I wanted to go down there. And, Sydney rolled her eyes and said "finally".  She gets impatient when we take our time to make a big decision.

When Austin offered domestic partnership for a short time before some turd-head put the stop to that, we didn't go down.  And, when Austin offered marriage licenses that were later invalidated, we didn't go down.  This time, I wanted to be there on the first day.  Even if there was a chance of violence and protest.  Actually, especially if there was protest, not to protest back, but to defy that protest and empower others to defy it as well. 

We went home and changed into shorts for the potentially long wait outside.  And, then we drove across town to the clerks office.  It took an hour to get there.  A very long and frustrating hour... oh, what an idiot I was to try to give directions...

When we got there, the parking lot was full and we had to park a good distance from the door.  We got out of the truck and walked up to the end of the line. 

I asked "Is this the end of the line, and did you need to sign up someplace?". And, they said "We're not in line.  We're here to celebrate your day with you!  Go around us to the door and go on in.". And, they did cheer for us as we walked past.  And. oh God was it hot.  But, I'll bet there were 35 people standing there, in the heat, for one purpose, and that was to support us, and others like us.  I actually got the feeling that if there was trouble, they were there to handle it. 

And, I'm weeping again.  I guess you had to be there.  Or maybe not. 

We got inside and were directed to a huge conference room that would have easily held 250 people, except the person that arranged the chairs must have been gay because they set the place up in a circle instead of straight lines.  And, on one side of the circle was the State Seal of Texas on the wall and the American flag and the Texas flag.  And, about 100 people were waiting.  Our number was 137. 


They asked us at the door whether we wanted a formal marriage or an informal one.  Okay, kid at the buffet moment, y'all.  Shall I have the chicken, or the beef?  We didn't know.  They asked whether we wanted to leave married, or whether we wanted to get a license and wait 72 hours.  We wanted to leave married. 

It was a good thing we had that two and a half hour wait, because we learned a lot about marriage.  I heard one lady say that informal marriage isn't recognized in all 50 states, so we checked into that and changed our minds and wanted a formal marriage.  Then, the sweet and funny lady that was making announcements told everyone that if we wanted both, we could have both, and leave married and get the formal marriage later.  Her quote was "I'll take your money, honey.  We'll do whatever you want". So, we decided to do both.

That sweet lady did a great job of keeping us informed.  She was the one calling numbers, and she was the one that came to the center of the room, called us to attention, and made announcements about how to avoid the 72 hour waiting period, which judges were doing marriages that afternoon, which judges had just announced they were staying late to marry people, how much it cost... any question that she got too often, she gave the answer to the whole room.  And, she did it with flair, curtseying and spinning around and smiling and laughing.  And, every time she talked about marriage, she ended with the same phrase..." and then you're married and you go "take care of your business"", which drew laughs from the crowd.

The first number we heard them call was 98.  39 people ahead of us.  And, the crowd grew.  Where there were empty seats when we got there, it was standing room only when we left. 

The crowd was varied.  There were kids in their 20's and people in their late 60's.  There were mothers with infants and teenagers like Sydney, and people in shorts and people dressed up, and people carrying flowers and balloons and laughing and talking.  Couples who brought their parents to witness the big day.  And, couples who clearly knew no one else in the room and huddled together, waiting their turn.  And, every time they called out a number and the couple stood up to leave the room and go to the clerks office, we cheered for them.  Now, you're thinking this was a bunch of gay people cheering for gay people, right?  But, there were straight people there, too.  Just like there would be any other day.  There to get a marriage license and they waited in line, too.  And, when their numbers got called and they left the room, we all cheered for them too.   And, despite all the cheering and happy applause, there was tension in the room, too.  Thick.  This was people making life altering choices and they knew it.  And, they were ready to do it anyway.  Oh, sure there were the ones there because they wanted to be first.  But, there were couples who had real commitments that they wanted to acknowledge, to themselves, and to the world.  Couples who held hands and didn't talk, and waited quietly, looking into space, like they were seeing a different future.  And, despite the smiles and cheers, they (and we) were taking it serious.



Almost all the gay couples were coming back to the room to have pictures taken in front of the state seal, holding their license up.  And, when they did, we cheered them again, and laughed and cried at their proud family photos.  Babies squirmed and toddlers ran around, and teenagers hugged their Moms and cried.  Old couples held fast to one another, and young couples pulled faces and mugged the camera.  And, the crowd cheered and cried; and cheered and cried.  And, two of the straight couples were brave enough to come back into that crowd again and take their pictures.  And, we cheered for them.  As one couple was leaving, I heard the man say to his new wife, "now we're going to 'take care of our business'.". And, everyone that heard him laughed.  He was pretty cool about it all. 

Finally, our number was called and we were cheered as we left the room and were taken to the clerks office. 


Answering questions
 
 
And, more questions. 
 
 
 The first license in my hot little hand.
 
We were escorted, and dropped off with a clerk, who was fun, funny, and clearly happy to be doing what she was doing that day.  She joked with us and helped us make our marriage license application process as good as it could be.  Including helping us edit the application to mark out the WO in WOMAN and changing WIFE to HUSBAND within the documents.  She was so sweet.  There are some counties where the clerks are refusing to issue licenses because "they don't have the right paperwork.". Screw that.  When the paperwork didn't fit us, we changed the paperwork!  With an ink pen.  Rebecca  married us.



I got listed first, but only because my name has a suffix, and the only space on the application for a suffix is under the section titled MAN.  Sorry, just had to throw that one in. 

And, then we went back to the waiting room for our photo. 




And, the crowd cheered.

And, when we left the building, the crowd outside cheered and people took pictures of our family and our license and gave us flowers and offered champagne and blew bubbles.  And, I wept all the way to the truck.

So, marriage is generally followed by a big marriage dinner, right?  So we went to our favorite family friendly Mexican restaurant and had margaritas and Enchiladas and celebrated our big day.  Together.  As family. 

Now, anybody that thinks we missed out on anything because we were in short pants and because our families and friends weren't there and because there wasn't a big reception should know that we've been winging this whole relationship thing in our own way since we started, 15 years ago.  And, that's what we did yesterday, too.  No one could be happier, or more proud.  If it had cost ten thousand dollars, it could not have reflected our family more perfectly. 

Everybody have a great Saturday.  We're still riding the adrenaline rush.  Lane

40 comments:

Lakegaldonna said...

I was on the road yesterday and found out about the decision late and I was thinking about you guys, and happy.

Lane, you write very well. I was in tears a quarter of the way in to your post. It was hard to read the rest through teary eyes. Thank you for the fullness of your post. I felt as if I was in the room with the 100 plus people and you.

Most of all, Congrats!!! I'm happy for you, Rob, and Sydney. It's the way it should be and now it's legal too. It's a really big deal.

Shevvy said...

Ah Lane, I wept so much reading this. It doesn't sound like you could have found a better way to mark such an important event for your family.
I'm so happy you were finally able to achieve it.
Congratulations to all three of you, and how your family can now be recognised in law

Luv
Shevvy

Laura said...

Congratulations! I am a new reader to your blog (just found you a few weeks ago) and have enjoyed reading about your experience. I have been very emotional about this decision and am so happy to see our country moving toward greater equality. I grew up in the relatively liberal north and now live in Florida. It's been interesting to watch this play out living down here. I hope that those states that have been dragging their heels (really Louisiana and Mississippi?!?!) get their act together soon!

Denise in PA said...

No, you didn't have to be there (but I wish I had been)...I had chills after I started reading and tears by the end. Thank you for sharing this very special day with us. o:)

Kay said...

Congratulations!!! I'm so happy for you all!

Anonymous said...

A big congratulations from me and my family. What a lovely day. We wish you well in your future life as a (now legal) family.

lindaroo said...

Oh, how I wish I'd been thoughtful enough to go to my local county clerk's office to cheer and support my neighbors! What a happy day, for you, and for America. Thank you for sharing your joyous wedding story. My heart is full.

Patricia said...

I had to stop and push the tears aside!!! I am a sentimental girl and so believe in love--even when I don't always see it! As I said yesterday---I wish your family the very,very best!!!

Auntie Em said...

Congratulations! You, Rob and Sydney make a beautiful family. Much happiness to you all!

Daryl said...

Congratulations!!!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Wishing you the best for your future ahead. I am so glad your relationship is finally recognized....because love is love, and you guys surely show that daily. Now, as our best man toasted us many years ago " may all your ups amd downs only be in bed! " tee hee

lw said...

I think the happiness radiating off of you, Rob and Sydney in the photos makes these some of the best wedding photos I've ever seen.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this special day and photos with us. Even though I have worries and concerns regarding same sex marriage, I am happy for you.
I have been reading your blog long enough to know you are truly good people, good family men and you deserve this opportunity.

Congrats and best wishes!

Darla

Gina said...

Congratulations to you both. I'm so pleased for you, It was a wonderful day for all concerned xx

Andi's English Attic said...

What a fantastic day. How wonderful to read how happy everyone was - the crowd, the clerks, you. I'm not sure you could have had a more perfect marriage day. I'm so happy for you and your family. x

Heide said...

Congratulations to you both! Much happiness and lots of love to you both!

Libby in TN said...

What a wonderful day! Thanks for sharing with all of us. Congrats!

Libby in TN said...

What a wonderful day! Thanks for sharing with all of us. Congrats!

Gisela Suski said...

Happiness for you and your family! Were the clerks prepared for all this wonderful excitement all over the country?

scraphappy said...

What a wonderful story. Thanks so much for sharing it with us all. I have tears in my eyes as I sit here typing this and am so excited about what this will mean to so many people. Congratulations!

Nan said...

Congratulations! :) When I heard the big announcement, I was happy for lots of friends and family, far and near, including you, who I consider a friend. Even though we've never met, I love reading your blog and appreciate your outlook on quilting and life. I'm just so happy for you, Rob and Sydney. In the 2nd pic, I love her expression and she looks so beautiful! And of course your and Rob's expressions are so beautiful throughout. Such love, excitement and true appreciation for something that too many of us take for granted.

Best wishes for many more happy years together!!!
Nan

carrie said...

Well it is Sunday now in the UK as your post came in. What an unexpectedly wonderful day and I wish you both every happiness for yourselves, your marriage, your family and your future.

Mari said...

Those are the best wedding pictures ever! Congratulations and many blessings to all of you!

FabricandFlowers said...

Congrats! I loved reading your story. Made me tear up. Wishing you the best.

Brenda said...

Lane, Rob & Sydney -- I am soooo over the moon happy for all of you. Congratulations on your wonderful day. I loved your story Lane, just as I always love your blog and your outlook on life. You parallel so many of my thoughts. But......right now it is just a happy happy time for all of you. If I could've I would have been part of the crowd cheering you on outside the clerk's office!! Congrats and many blessings to all of you!

Becky said...

Just look at you!!!! Are your faces sore from smiling so much??

Love you,
Becky

P. said...

Congratulations to you and Rob! Wishing you many happy years ahead. Thanks for sharing the experience of your special day, and the momentous day it was.

Marei said...

Congratulations Lane & Rob! There really isn't much more to say. I'm appalled it has taken so long for gay marriage to be legal throughout the country, but happy that it finally has. Love and commitment to each other is what makes a marriage....not whether one of you has an 'out-y' and the other has an 'in-y' in regards to sexual parts. Be happy. Be healthy. Be good to each other.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Lane and Rob and Sydney! Thank you so much for sharing your story, you have a wonderful way with words. You made my Monday! :D

Russell1947 said...

Congratulations!

Tammy said...

Oh Lane... Congratulations to you, Rob and Sydney. Cherish each other, I'm so delighted and happy for you all. Yes I too, wept when reading about your wedding day. My husband and I were on route to Buena Vista, Saskatchewan June 26th to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary on June 28, when it was on the local news that gay marriage was finally legal in all the United States. ~dancing around the room with glee~~

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. Tears. Chills. Joy! Thankfulness. And best of all, Love. Hugs to you all.

And here's to the 9 in Wash DC who finally pulled up their socks and did the right thing. Nice of them to choose Pride week to announce.

Neame

Kath said...

like most of your other blog friends, I was wiping away a tear. Thankyou for sharing your special day with us Lane. I would have LOVED to be there to cheer you all on. I'm sure you, Rob and Syd will have long and happy lives together.

Eileensews said...

Congratulations to you!!!!! The pictures are great and your daughter is lovely. What a wonderful day!!!

Dianne said...

Wow, I am at work reading this and I have tears rolling down my cheeks. Congratulations guys. I am Australian and I pray that our country will follow suit and allow 2 adults no matter what their sex is, the right to decide they want to commit to each other and formalize and legalize it. I wish your little family all the best for the future.

Mary said...

So happy for you, and sitting here with tears running down my face. This is so wonderful

Suzanne said...

Thank you for sharing the story of your day! Many blessings over this juncture of your family!

Carla said...

Thanks for taking us along on your adventure and the beginning of the rest of your lives together.

Michael Theisen said...

My congratulations! I live in Washington where marriage equality was approved by a popular vote in 2012, and I recall the amazing joy of that referendum then. The Husband and I got married months later, on the 33rd Anniversary of our first date. We invited the POTUS. He didn't attend, but did send a note. Here is what puzzles me: Texas. On one hand you have the county staff helping you and cheering you and other couples getting your license, and Fellow Texans cheering you, but then you have a certain foreign-born senator from your state braying on that this will incite God's wrath. You live in an interesting place and I'm sure this is not lost upon you. Congratulations and best wishes, and keep on blogging!

Vesuviusmama said...

I knew this post would be in here somewhere, and I'm so glad I found it and was able to read the story of your marriage. I'm so happy for you!!! I wish I could have been there - I'd have been cheering and crying along with the rest.