Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Down the aisle

I’m very behind in my blogging but I wanted to share a bit about our experience a few weeks ago when Susanne and I applied for our marriage license. March 3rd was the magic day that it became law that we could get married here, and even though we were not among the very first to get in line, early the following week, when our schedule allowed, we trekked on down to the Marriage License Bureau in DC Superior Court.

We submitted all of our paperwork and swore and affirmed "so help us" that we intended to legally marry here in DC.

There were several other couples (mostly gay) who were already waiting in a corridor (or aisle) and the mood was very upbeat. As we stood in a line, a staff member walked down the hall talking to each couple to make sure they had all the right documentation and forms. Right behind us was a group of 3 young people--two men and a woman. At first we weren’t sure who of the group was getting married to each other, but it soon became clear that the woman was just along as a friend. The staff member asked both men if they had ID to show that they were at least 18 and of course I had to comment in a not so soft whisper, “hey, she didn’t ask me if I had ID to prove I was over 18!” For a second she thought I was serious, but she cracked up along with everyone else when she quickly realized that I was JUST KIDDING!

Eventually we were seated in room with couches where we all quietly waited our turn. Benji slept peacefully though it all in his stroller and after about an hour we were all done and headed home with instructions to return in 3 business days to pick up the license.

As I understand it, the bureau usually processes an average of 12 licenses on a given day, but with this new law just going into effect, their workload has increased significantly. Now they are doing something like 12 per hour instead of per day. I read this morning that 700 licenses had been applied for so far in March. To their credit, the staff did a great job handling the crowd.

I returned that Friday as directed, this time to pick up our official license with two year old Danny this time (Su stayed home with Benji because it was so rainy but Danny and I splashed our way over on the Metro). This time the line out in the hallway was much longer, probably 40 couples. I was able to scoot right to the front since I was there to “pick up” which was good because I think those folks were going to be there for several hours.

The mood on this day was even more festive! The staff had figured out they could process people faster if they changed their procedure a bit, so they were out in the waiting area administering the oaths as fast as they could in an attempt to keep up. Although people had been waiting for hours they were cool. In fact it was kind of a party atmosphere. As the clerk called the next couples’ names for the next thing to do, every one whooped and cheered. It’s like they’d all been friends forever!

When my name was called and a clerk handed me our license I turned around to calls of “you go girl” and stuff like that. I took a little bow and said "now Danny's other mom and I can be legally married" and everyone clapped and cheered even louder (especially Danny who thought this was great fun!)

I didn’t expect to feel some of the feelings I felt going through this process so far. Sitting next to Susanne in that courthouse the first day we went I felt a sense of happiness and, I think a sense of victory or something. I guess I felt like we’d “won” because we could now be legally married, and I will admit that as I looked at Susanne sitting next to me I also felt like I’d “won” because she is simply the best. I am very blessed. And on the day I went back to pick up the license I felt a real sense of camaraderie with an amazing community of people. A community I am proud to be a part of! -Monica


Jenni said...

I'm just so happy for you guys.

Prissy said...

So happy for two (four) of you! Love, Prissy

Erin said...

yes, I'm teary-eyed right about now. so exciting!!!

elizabeth said...

Congrats Pep! I love the part about feeling like you'd both "won".
Someone once gave a toast at a wedding where they stated, "A good marriage is one where you both feel like you are getting the better end of the deal." It sounds like that is just what you are describing.
So happy for you both.