Domestic Partnership Is Not Marriage, Marriage Is Marriage

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

Last week I did something I’ve never done before and hope to never do again.

Dian and Erin got hitched!

I got married.

My wife and I have been together for six years and have known since the very beginning that we were getting into something special with one another. We’d been together for just under a year in 2008 when the short window of opportunity to marry opened up, prior to the passing of Prop 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California. While we knew we had something special, we both respected the sanctity of marriage and didn’t want to rush into it. Just because I could didn’t mean I should.

Somewhere between our third and fourth anniversaries we decided that we were ready to get married. It was just a matter of waiting for Prop 8 to be ruled unconstitutional. The California Supreme Court did just that in February of 2012, but it would take another year and four months for the Supreme Court of the United States to uphold that ruling and officially overturn the ban.

On February 20, 2012 we decided it was time to exchange rings. The rings meant engagement, but we agreed to not plan a wedding until we knew for certain that it would be a legal wedding, recognized by the state of California.

We had friends who went to other states to get married, and while that worked for them, it just didn’t work for us. I had no desire to travel to another state, get married, and then return to my home state unmarried, for all intents and purposes. I wanted the state I live in to recognize my marriage, otherwise it was off the table. So we waited.

On June 26, 2013 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled to uphold the decision of the California court that Prop 8 was unconstitutional. On June 28, 2013 same-sex marriages resumed in California after a four-and-a-half-year hiatus.

I’m not religious, and still I was moved to say Halle-fucking-lujah.

Our wedding wasn’t traditional because that’s just not who we are. We did our wedding our way. It was small, to avoid the stress of actually planning a wedding (which is still quite stressful, as it turns out). We didn’t wear dresses or tuxedos, but khakis and white shirts instead, preferring comfort over style.

We did keep some traditional elements, though. Something old: my mom’s gold bracelet; something new: our outfits; something borrowed and something blue: blue keepsake bags for our rings before the exchange.

The ceremony was beautiful. We wrote our own vows—which sounds like a great idea but is extremely stressful, even if you’re only writing a few sentences. We looked into each others eyes, we said “I do,” and we cried (not necessarily in that order).

The greatest feeling of my entire life, to date.

There really is something special about getting married and actually being able to call it marriage. I’ve heard the argument that we should be able to get married as long as we call it something else, citing Shakespeare’s “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Bullshit. I know just how much sweeter the real thing really is.

I’ve often referred to my wife as “my wife,” but before she was actually my wife. I’ve been called on that, asked if we were really married in the window of opportunity and felt second-rate when I sheepishly said, “No, we’re domestic-partnered and waiting for California to get its shit together.”

Up until our wedding day, we felt married. We lived like we were married. We treated our relationship as though we were married. Except we didn’t, because we had no idea how different it would feel once we were actually married.

For anyone who’s been married, you know what I’m talking about. You’re not married until you’re married—regardless of how you carry yourself in the world.

Just ask the IRS. And us, of course.

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June.14.2014 at 9.49 am

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Meg November.22.2013 at 10.42 am

Yep so true. It is different and it feels different. Legally and emotionally. You are joined as a family officially and being recognized as one is so beautiful. I changed all your contact info in my stuff to Reid-Jancic and I couldn’t be happier every time I see it. And while it is great that California finally got its “shit together,” always remember your marriage is only yours and yours alone. Love you guys.

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