Hello lovely ladies! I’m Meg Streit, the new gay marriage and lesbian wedding columnist for AfterEllen.com. I am a full-time freelance journalist, and I write about all kinds of topics – from the stock market to Chicago’s restaurant scene. But, I can’t think of anything I’d rather write about than lesbian weddings and gay marriage. So, I’m thrilled to add my voice to what I believe is one of the most important discussions of our time, and I look forward to hearing all of your voices as well.
In 2004, I was a bridesmaid four times. Aside from amassing a collection of dresses I’ll “totally be able to wear again,” I spent a lot of time thinking about marriage. I was an out lesbian, and in a committed (albeit tumultuous) relationship back then, but every time I watched one of my straight friends walk down the aisle, I couldn’t quite envision myself as the one in the big white gown.
And, believe you me, it wasn’t because I don’t believe in marriage (I’m a hopeless romantic and serial monogamist) or because I am ambivalent about the fussy minutiae that can accompany a wedding – I once begged a bride-to-be and her fiancé to pay $5,000 for white chair covers for their reception because the thought of those naked banquet chairs was too depressing for me. I loved everything about marriage and weddings – the romantic proposal stories, the sparkly diamond rings, the dresses, the “roses or calla lilies" debates, the cake tastings, the free cookware! Oh, and the whole “‘til death do us part” and partner for life thing sounded pretty appealing too.
But, as a lesbian in 2004, as much as I wanted to be married, it didn’t seem like a realistic option for me. Yes, depending on where you lived, domestic partnership and civil unions were possibilities, but we all know that “civil union” is code for “not a wedding” and a domestic partner really isn’t the same as a wife. I didn’t want some second-class citizen, red-headed stepchild version of a wedding — I wanted the real thing!
A lot has changed in those six short years since my “year of the bridesmaid.” Many lesbian and gay couples are no longer content to throw quiet, little commitment ceremonies or just draw up domestic partnership agreements in the romantic privacy of their attorneys’ offices. No ‘mam, these days, we are having full-fledged, “look at this rock,” here come the brides, champagne-fueled, white dress-clad, $50 a plate, bona fide weddings!