Last Friday was National Coming Out Day. Shout out to those who took it as an opportunity to publicly express their sexuality and those who didn’t. Either way, you deserve a big hug and an even bigger ice cream cone. Of course, even with the government shutdown, politics influences how we view the day. So, it wasn’t surprising that last week the same-sex marriage issue that many states are addressing got tied to coming out. Clearly, there are what might be regarded as “problems” with the process of coming out and same-sex marriage. Now, I won’t spend anytime here unpacking any of the issues as I see them. Instead, I’d like to take a moment to promote yet another modest proposal.
Fraught, conservative institution or not, we can all agree that marriage can be an expensive endeavor. From dresses to flowers to delicious cake to chicken or beef or veggie, jumping the broom in any traditional capacity costs many a ducket. In a way, that’s what the fight for same-sex marriage is for: access to several rituals which includes registering a place setting you’ll never use. In essence, that’s the transaction. I put on a big party and feed you, you cry over me and buy me steak knives. Which brings me to my point.
There are those of us who are GLBTQ and not, partnered and not, who, even when same-sex marriage is ratified in our state, will still choose not to jump the broom. And yet, we still want–and in many cases need–a lot of the stuff folks who get married get when they make vows. And that’s not fair. I have made several arguments about why same-sex marriage, or just plain marriage isn’t the business. Here’s another argument: I shouldn’t have to make an ostensible lifetime commitment for a blender from my better off cousin. Seriously. Those of you all who are fighting for access to your same-sex boo’s healthcare plan. Keep up the good fight. While you’re over there, I’ll be starting my campaign for the I’m Not Getting Married, But I Still Need Shit Gift Registry.
Last week, I hung out at my sister’s house. And it was full of cool stuff that she got from her wedding. And you know what? I want some of that stuff. I figure that’s fair. Instead of a check for the money I would’ve spent on a wedding, give me some heavy-ass silverware. Or a vacation. Or both. It’s cheaper than what catering would’ve cost. I promise.
The problem with valuing marriage in the ways that we do means we disparage folks who choose to be in partnership with others in different ways. We implicitly condescend to folks who want to remain single. And doing so puts them at numerous disadvantages, including financially inhibiting them by making them shell out dough for household appliances, when they decided they didn’t want to put a ring on it. That’s financially unfair, especially when folks like that saved you hella dough on airfare, hotel, and dress shoes for an event that will likely end in divorce.
I propose a National I Don’t Plan to Get Married Day. On such days, parents and loved one should either give us a nice check for what they would’ve spent on a wedding, or some swag that is the equivalent to game show parting gifts. Not succumbing to state recognition or societal rituals does not mean we, as young people, don’t still need help. We should be rewarded for our independence. Our individuality should come with a wishing well. After all, it’s because of us that you didn’t have to learn the new “Blurred Lines” line dance or keep your uncle away from the bridesmaids. What’s more, we’ve saved you a bunch of money, and you didn’t even have to switch car insurance. Reward us accordingly.