We did it! We got married! Legally! Our wedding day was small by some measures, but just bursting at the seams with love, love, love, joy, love, pride, happiness, love, excited stomach butterflies, love, smiles, sunshine (yes, in Seattle!), food, Starbucks sightings, love and even more LOVE. I know the whole Machine Gun Wedding thing was kind of a pain with the rushed deadline and the fact that we had to go out of state to do it, but the trouble kind of made it sweeter. We were so grateful to be able to publicly express our love due to the repeal of DADT. We teared up at the Judge’s mention of legal recognition (and let a giggle slip when he accidentally pronounced us husband and wife). We cherished the last minute cross-country trips our family and friends made even more, and discovered a beautiful new city with warm, kind, open people who wholeheartedly congratulated us at every opportunity. We had a beautiful wedding.
Now home and back into the daily grind, reality has set in a little. The novelty of calling each other “Wife,” “Wifey,” or “Legally my beotch” has yet to wear off, but it’s hard to come home to AZ where we are legally no more than roommates. It’s hard to await the Supreme Court decision that could make our lives so much more equal to those of other military families, or leave us in this weird state of legally married without legal rights and protections. It got even harder the day I found out that even a victory over section 3 of DOMA would still not make our marriage recognized in every state of the nation my wife fights for. We can plan our future with very cautious optimism because we know our love is real, and we just can’t imagine such an insanely biased law being upheld, but uncertainty still messes with us. It is so hard to have this cloud hanging over us while we spend our last month together before she PCSs to Korea. I really wish people understood the difference between disagreeing with someone and oppressing them. I wish we didn’t have to argue the rights of citizens to live as they see fit so long as it doesn’t hurt someone else, and I wish people would open up just enough to actually get to know some of the “opposition” and find out we’re really not so bad.
I know there has been so much progress recently in our fight, but there is still so much more that needs to be done. Even if we have Supreme Court victories this month, there will be gaps in equality and pockets of uninformed people who will try to hold us down. It is so important for everyone to remember as we celebrate each victory, we should also let it energize us to continue the work we are doing to ensure full equality. I learned from the high of our wedding day that it’s easy to be so grateful for each small battle won and forget the larger war. Don’t let us get complacent now that the end of DOMA is most likely near!
I heard someone say once that the most hurtful “gay myth” was that we want something different than what everyone else wants, that somehow our desires for love, family, freedom and acceptance are “less than.” If I know anything, I know that the love, friendship, and mutual respect my wife and I share is real. I know it every time she makes fun of me for being nerdy and having an unhealthy obsession with cheese that is liquid at room temperature. I know it every time I roll not only my eyes, but my whole head at her sorry attempts at humor and dancing. I know it every time we skip a night out on the town to play backgammon instead. I knew it when I proudly pinned her Warrant Officer rank, and I’ll know it when we say a tearful goodbye before the Army sends her to a foreign land without me. We are a real military family, and we shouldn’t be treated as any less under the law.
Maria is a 31-year-old Army brat married to W01 Amanda Emmerson. They share a home in Sierra Vista (Amanda is stationed at Ft. Huachuca) and both the joys and difficulties of raising an awesome 11-year-old boy, Daniel. Amanda will be PCSing to Korea at the end of June.