Thursday, February 2, 2012

February 2012

I’ll let you in on a secret, Poppets: I am a lobster. What does that mean? It means I am hard and crusty on the outside and total mush on the inside. Which also means I’m a sucker for romance, and yes, embarrassingly, Valentine’s Day. I know the arguments. It’s a corporate holiday; it’s all about money; Hallmark and DeBeers have us by the short hairs. Whatever. I love it. When I was single, I would buy myself chocolates and take long, candle lit bubble baths. Now that I’m married, we celebrate very similarly, only I’m no longer alone in that bath. Yep, romance is wonderful. Love is wonderful. Valentine’s Day is wonderful. And … what if we could make it more than just a money-maker for Whitmans chocolates? There’s a national movement trying to do just that.

Marriage Equality USA,, and California Faith for Equality have joined together to encourage a national day of awareness, Request Marriage (, on February 14, 2012. Marriage is the ultimate representation of romance, so what better way to celebrate romance than with marriage? On Valentine’s Day this year, those of us who are not married are being urged to apply for marriage licenses. Yes, even those of us in Washington state who have domestic partnership rights.

 Now, there are some very important rules, should you and your partner choose to participate. First and foremost, be polite. This is not an aggressive or antagonistic event. The people behind the counter are simply doing their jobs. They do not make the laws. They are not the enemy. Many of them fully support the rights of LGBTQ peoples. Do not harass them for doing their jobs.

Second, but equally important, do not block straight couples who are successful at obtaining marriage licenses. The whole movement is about gaining that very right, not about taking it away from anyone else. If you engage them at all, do so in order to celebrate with them on their happy day.

Finally, maintain your own quiet dignity. This is not about making a scene. This is about making a statement. Those are two very different things. Do not give them any reason to disregard you as crazy, or belligerent, or just one of “those” people.

If you are a straight couple, you can show your support, as well. The website recommends going to the County Auditor’s office, request a marriage license, and then handing it back, explaining that it isn’t fair that LGBTQ couples cannot marry and so you won’t be filing today. Another option is to simply go down and be there. Witness and stand in support. Hell, you don’t even have to be part of a couple to do that much.

I know that Washington is moving toward making same-gender marriage legal, and that makes me proud. Governor Gregoire has announced that she will throw the weight of her office behind passing the law. Good. She should. But that doesn’t mean we should take anything for granted. Make the statement that marriage equality is vital to wider goal of overarching equality. Make the statement locally, so that it can resonate regionally and nationally.

Marriage licenses can be obtained at the Whatcom County Auditor, 311 Grand Avenue, Suite 103, Bellingham, WA 98225. Make me proud, Poppets. I know you will.

Until next month, take care of you.



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