In a history making event, the first same sex couples gathered in Maine to exchange vows this weekend. It’s significant in the sense that all these couples were finally allowed to have their relationships validated legally in Maine, and also because it’s one step closer to same sex marriage on a federal level.
There’s also an emotional factor here as well. And unless you’ve been in a long term same sex relationship and you’ve gone the proverbial distance, you can’t even begin to imagine how something like this works psychologically. You might think you can, but you really can’t know unless you’ve experienced not being allowed to legally marry. Being able to legally marry for gay couples is like they’ve finally stopped punishing you for that crime you never committed in the first place.
Arriving in a limo, Donna Galluzzo and Lisa Gorney had all the trappings of a traditional wedding: Rings, flowers, wedding vows, an entourage and a friend to officiate.
With tears in their eyes, they were among the first gay couples to exchange wedding vows early Saturday morning after Maine’s same-sex marriage law went into effect at midnight.
“We’re paving the way for people to go after us. I think it’s just amazing. It’s freeing. It’s what’s right,” an emotionally drained Gorney said after their ceremony in front of City Hall.
Of course here in Pennsylvania same sex couples aren’t allowed to get married, and the couples who were allowed to marry in Maine are still facing obstacles like inheritance taxes, benefits, and other legal issues because same sex marriage is not legal on a federal level. In an ironic twist, same sex couples who aren’t legally allowed to marry face injustices when it comes to divorce, too. (More to follow on the divorce issue soon.) In other words, to make this clear, if the couples who were married in Maine…or any other state where gay marriage is legal…come to visit Tony and me in Pennsylvania they would not be considered legally married. And that’s what “state by state” means in a general sense.
But at least it seems we’re moving forward. After the most recent elections in this country, I’ve stopped hoping that a President or one particular leader (and I use the term leader loosely) is going to do anything about recognizing same sex marriage federally. When it does happen (and it will) it’s going to have to be a collective effort that involves many people. And what happened in Maine this weekend is one more step in that direction.
Photo: Falln-Stock Deviantart.com (Huge thanks to photographer for taking such cool pics!)