I Had This Dream...

Last night I dreamt that I was granted a marriage license.

When I woke up, I realized (well, of course I realized it was just a dream. But also…) that it was almost exactly two years ago that Megan and I – and several gay and lesbian couples throughout Wisconsin – asked the County Clerk for a marriage license.

Needless to say, that day didn’t end like my dream.

February 12-18 is Freedom to Marry week, and it was that week two years ago that I discovered Fair Wisconsin, met Josh for the first time, and got to know many other wonderful couples here facing the same setbacks and frustrations as I was because not one of us could marry the love of our life.

The day we lined up to ask for those licenses was exciting, frightening, and frankly, a little demoralizing. There were an awful lot of television cameras and reporters, and one station hooked Megan up to a microphone so that on the evening news, people could hear her request the license, and then get turned down.

The couple in line in front of us, Patti and Lynette, had their young son, Jeremy, with them. When the County Clerk regretfully denied them a marriage license, they somberly thanked him and began to walk away.

Jeremy was visibly upset. “He said no?” he shouted. “Why?”

I think of that moment a lot.

The morning of that day two years ago, I remember feeling like I was part of a movement, like I could make change. But after witnessing Jeremy’s reaction, and after watching every couple being turned away, and then experiencing that rejection myself, it hit me very hard. Already, we could not get married or even have a civil union in Wisconsin, and the impending constitutional amendment threatened making that denial permanent.

Even last night in my fantastic dream, I was nervous. But when I said I was there to apply for a marriage license, and when the clerk behind the counter didn’t act like my request was the least bit unusual, it suddenly seemed silly that I, for a moment, thought I wasn’t free to marry.


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