Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Tent

I was thinking about my marriage tonight, and whether or not a defense of the institution of marriage was necessary. Because a defense of marriage implies an attack. And I wondered if my own marriage required such a vigorous defense, which would I finger as the likely attackers.  

But first, let me address one thing that bothers me greatly in this discussion. My marriage and the institution of marriage are not two distinct things. It’s not like I’m married, and somewhere in my house is a hidden safe where I keep the institution of marriage, tucked safely away so no one will ever steal it or tread on it. I’m married. I feel like sometimes people like to talk about marriage as an institution because it depersonalizes the entire debate. Oh, it’s not you I don’t want to get married. It’s just the institution I want to protect. All hail the institution. Trust me, marriage is indeed sacred and can often feel like a special all white place with padded walls. Yes. But somehow I don’t think that’s where they are going with it. I’m married. It’s a marriage. That’s it. I’m as totally done with the fake-o association between the words marriage and institution as I am with the words fiscal cliff. We’re just fucking broke. Period. Let’s move on.
But I digress.  Were my own marriage in need of defense, it would most likely be because it were under attack from one of the following things: the laundry, fantasy football, Andy Cohen, that weird whole chicken that my husband’s grandmother manages to stuff inside that giant platter of rice because that just freaks me out, the $1 bins at Target, anything online that offers free shipping, Facebook, the children, my pride, Cuban cigars, or crème eggs.

You know who my marriage would not likely be under attack from? Gays and Lesbians that I may or may not know who also want to be married. They are not outside intruders threatening to destroy my fake safe-ridden institution. They are not internal vices or external temptations. They are just people who want what I have which is a particularly humbling thought considering that sometimes, I probably take that for granted.
I remember the planning of my wedding and how my mother took charge because, well, she was really good at planning weddings and she liked to do it and I wasn’t so good at planning weddings. And I remember once kind of venting some frustration over this lack of control to my amazing friend. She was also our Rabbi, offering us pre-marriage counseling as we prepared for the big day. She leaned in close and whispered, “It doesn’t really matter. That’s just the party. You will completely control what happens during the marriage, the wedding. That is what matters.” And she was totally right. Because when I think about my wedding I am under that chuppah with sweet, wise Rabbi Elianna and I am looking into my husband’s eyes, and frankly I don’t really remember much of anyone or anything else there. It was only us. It was meaningful. It mattered. Our chuppah (a canopy that Jewish couples are married under) symbolized many things, including the Jewish home that we would build together. As with Abraham’s tent, it was open on all sides, reinforcing the belief that the strength in one’s home lies in our willingness to let others in. Indeed, my marriage, my tent, is stronger with everyone in it.

The fact that in 2013 we are still talking about this given the severity of so many other pressing global and domestic issues seems silly. The time is now. Equal rights for all.

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