Yesterday started out like a normal day around here. All three babies were crying by 6:15 and we finally gave in and got everyone up at 6:30. All three have a bit of a runny nose and may or may not be cutting their canine teeth so everyone was a little whiny and needy and not in a self-entertaining mood, which always makes for a challenging morning. I had an early visit and we had our multiples playgroup so we rushed around a bit to get all five of us dressed for the day and get breakfast ready, all to a chorus of "mommy. mama. up. O's. mama. up. mommy. wawa. up. see. see." interspersed with whining and crying. When I left for work Michelle had one kiddo in a carrier on her back and one pulling at each leg. It is simultaneously hard and easy to leave on mornings like this.
Fast forward an hour or so and Michelle had managed to get the kiddos all in the car and at playgroup and I joined them there after my visit. Michelle was supposed to take off as soon as I got there to get to work, but she hung out for a bit and didn't want to leave. It was right around 10:30 when I happened to check my phone and saw the incredible news that the Supreme Court had legalized gay marriage! I immediately got goosebumps all over and just typing this I'm getting them again. Suddenly an ordinary day was extraordinary!
|our "now legally recognized" family|
Michelle and I have been together for 14 years. We have been registered domestic partners in the city of St. Louis, the state of Oregon, and the state of Washington. None of that meant a damn thing to anyone when we moved to Pennsylvania for Michelle to start her PhD. When gay marriage was legalized in Washington in December of 2012 (a few short months after we moved), we learned that we could either pay an additional sum of money to the state for a marriage license or wait another year and a half for our registered domestic partnership to be converted to a legal marriage (June 30th, 2014). Since neither held any standing in Pennsylvania we decided to wait. About a month before our marriage became legal in WA, the US federal court ruled that PA had to recognize same sex marriages from other states. So for the past year we have been legally married in PA and filed joint taxes at both the state and federal level for the first time this year.
This fall, as Michelle enters her last year of her PhD program, she will begin looking for jobs. While our hope is to end up back in the Pacific Northwest, where gay marriage was already legal, yesterday's ruling takes some of the pressure off the job search. Now we can feel confident that anywhere we move our relationship will have full legal standing. Now we don't have to worry that a hospital might not recognize our relationship and allow us to be together or make life saving decisions for one another or our children. Now an employer can't deny benefits to my spouse, which is what happened here and is the reason Michelle had to continue to be enrolled in her PhD program full time during the entire pregnancy and first few months with the triplets. (The original plan was for Michelle to take a leave from the program, but my employer at the time would not let Michelle be on my health insurance plan. Thankfully, Penn State has always recognized our relationship and I am able to be on her grad student health insurance plan, which is what allows me to work part time right now.)
Beyond the practical issues, yesterday's ruling means that I will never again feel awkward introducing Michelle as my wife. No more of the generic "partner" in order to avoid the potentially awkward questions about the legality and "realness" of our marriage. Michelle and I exchanged vows and exchanged shell rings from the hotel giftshop on a secluded beach in Fiji on the tail end of our trip around the world nearly five years ago. Our marriage has been "real" for us and those who love us since that moment. Now it's "real" and legal for everyone, like it or not!
(taken using autotimer & a camera precariously balanced on a rock wall)
|Our wedding celebration with family & friends|
So this weekend, which is gay pride weekend in so many major cities, our community has much to celebrate. I so wish that we could participate in one of these big celebrations because I guarantee there will be some record breaking crowds and a whole lot of celebrating. I'm half tempted to pack up the whole family tonight and drive to New York City just so I can dress everyone in rainbow gear and join in the celebration! I mean, really, triplets in rainbow gear...that would be pretty adorable! Given the likelihood of rain, the fact that we are leaving for Chicago on Tuesday, and the amount of work we have to do, that isn't a realistic option. But we will continue to enjoy scanning through our Facebook feeds and seeing all the rainbows and wedding pics and will be raising a glass tonight to celebrate here in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania. I love seeing so many straight friends adding some rainbow flair to their profiles as well! Happy Pride everyone!