Rocker Melissa Etheridge was one of the first famous gay ladies to tie the knot in her 2003 marriage to (and subsequent separation from) Tammy Lynn Michaels. Since then, everywhere you turn, it seems like someone is getting gay married – from celesbian icons Ellen and Portia DeGeneres to ravel-rousing Rosie O’Donnell and her (now-ex) partner Kelli Carpenter to probably one or more of your ex-girlfriends (hopefully not to each other). Rich and famous or girls-next-door, rural or urban, young or old – lesbians everywhere are saying “I do” in a big way.
Of course, it’s not really a trend until it’s documented on reality TV, and gay marriage took center stage this year on The Real L Word. Love them or hate them, viewers followed along as Nikki Weiss and Jill Goldstein kvetched over every detail of their lavish lesbian nuptials, complete with $9,000 wedding planner. In October, the couple tied the knot dressed in designer gowns at a private Jewish ceremony in Malibu.
Clearly, the lesbian urge to couple off and commit is nothing new. Shoot, we’ve been keeping U-Haul in business for decades. But I think our desire to celebrate our commitments in a public way has grown tremendously over the last several years. Obviously, the legalization of gay marriage in Canada and a handful of forward-thinking U.S. states have given more of us the opportunity to tie the knot. If you live within driving distance of Iowa, Washington DC or the few New England states that have legalized gay marriage, you and your betrothed can easily get a real marriage certificate to go with your wedding. But sadly, we all know that those marriage certificates aren’t worth more than the paper they’re printed on once you cross state lines.
What we need is a federal law that legalizes same-sex marriage nationwide (at which point we can join the ranks of wacky nations like Spain, South Africa and the Netherlands, all of which allow gays to marry). But I’m happy to report that we’re not putting our wedding plans on hold while we wait for America to join the 21st century and legalize same-sex unions. We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re getting hitched – whether or not the United States government, our employers, or our right-wing grandparents recognize it!
It seems we’ve collectively been bitten by the marriage bug, and I predict there will be a lot more same-sex weddings in our future. Heterosexual people have been getting married for what, 700 or 800 years? And, gay people have been getting married for maybe 10 years. Ladies, the way I see it, we have a little catching up to do, and a lot to talk about. So, every other week, I will address a different topic related to gay marriage and lesbian weddings – from the lighthearted (“Which traditions should we borrow from breeders?”) to the critically important (“Lesbian wedding fashion trends!). I hope you’ll join me in these discussions, and I look forward to your feedback and comments!