Why Marriage Matters: A Valentine to My Sweetheart and a Thank-You to the Washington Legislature and Governor Gregoire

“Third time is the charm.” That’s what my daughters say about my marriage to the love of my life, who is neither my first husband nor my second.

Marriage in and of itself is no guarantee of a successful relationship, obviously, although I'd argue that the lessons learned in two previous marriages prepared me for being very mindful and attentive and succeeding in this marriage. 

So why the big deal for marriage equality that will allow people who are gay or lesbian to marry each other?

Because marriage matters. Standing in front of our friends and family in our backyard nearly five years ago, with my dear friend Betsy Lawrence taking us through our vows, we committed to each other and to our children. We took on obligations as well as privileges, rights and responsibilities.

We gained many things through the simple mechanism of taking out a marriage license: Community property rights, the ability to be at each other’s bedsides in a medical emergency with no questions asked, and much more.

These are the rights denied people who cannot marry. As I’ve written before, it is high time we move forward as a nation and I am proud today to live in a state where the legislature and governor have acted to provide equal rights to all.

Would you want your right to marry to be the subject of popular opinion? I sure wouldn’t. And since we moved on as a nation some time ago concerning race and ethnicity, no one could stop me from marrying my dear sweetheart even though he is not 100% “white” as some would define it.

This summer and fall, no doubt people with sincere beliefs (and some paid petition carriers) will stand at the entrance to your local grocery store and ask you to sign a petition to overturn marriage equality. Just say no to the petition, yes to equal rights, and yes to marriage for everyone.

We all deserve to love and be loved, and to be able to show that love to the world. It's as simple as that. Happy Valentine's Day to everyone.

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