Dear Well-Meaning, Soon-to-be-ex-coworker of Jami’s,
I know that you are a well-intentioned, liberal lady who is all for the homos, so I want to give you a little piece of friendly advice. Do not ask your soon-to-be-ex-coworker if her new employer will “recognize” her marriage. It’s a shitty thing to ask, and here’s why…
Your soon-to-be-ex-coworker (ie, my wife) is legally married in the District of Columbia. I’m sure that you know this because it would have been hard to miss the hullabaloo when it became legal earlier this year. This means that my marriage is a legal marriage and that it is EXACTLY the same as every other legal marriage in the District of Columbia. This is the beauty of marriage equality. This is exactly why marriage equality is so important. Because suddenly relationships between two consenting adults, any two consenting adults, who choose to marry are treated the exactly the same. If your DC employer will pay for the health care of the opposite-sex spouses of their employees, for example, they will also now be paying for the health care of the same-sex spouses of their employees. This is why Catholic Charities is no longer covering spouses on their health care plans.
DC’s move to marriage equality wasn’t an empty gesture, it was a very real, legal, serious thing. And by asking if my marriage is “recognized”, you are saying it is different. You are the ONLY person who is saying that it’s different. Which I am sure is not what your well-meaning, liberal self intended. My best advice? If you believe in marriage equality, recognize all marriages as equal. Practice what you preach. And if there is some way in which my marriage is not equal (there is still that pesky little matter of the federal government), and it’s something that I want to talk you about, I will bring it up. Because if you bring it up, especially if you imply that my marriage isn’t recognized, it’s just going to make me feel like you see my marriage as “less than”, which I most certainly do not and at which I will probably take offense.
I know the question was not meant in the manner in which it was received, and living in a glass house, I have no wish to throw stones. I’m sure, as a well-meaning, liberal white lady myself, I have made my share of well-intentioned, but not-so-appropriate remarks. So please just think about what I said, and the next time you are faced with a coworker or casual acquaintance who is married to someone of the same sex, don’t focus on the differences that you may see between their marriage and other marriages, focus on what is the same – or just don’t focus on their marriage at all. Thanks!