Over the past year or so that I have been writing for the OB Rag I have mentioned one or two of my grandchildren in the course of discussion. I have three beautiful daughters, and they have gifted me with 9 grandchildren and some of those have given me 4 great-grandchildren. Out of those children that are eligible for college, all of them are currently enrolled in the California Higher Education programs.
Last week I posted an article written by my oldest grandson, Josh, as to why he was proud to be an American, and why he feels somewhat “tarnished” today. I have always known that he was very bright, yet if you look at his past his actions sometimes belied that intelligence. I think it is fair to say that he is growing up, and the beautiful creative mind that has been stifled is being unleashed.
Josh has had a relationship with his girlfriend Cherie for close to seven years. When she came into their relationship she had a very young daughter and Josh treated her as if she was his. (I have to admit that for a time I wondered if she was his child. She wasn’t.) Two years after they got together they had a child together and people, including this grandmother, asked if they were going to get married. The answer was “no” and has continued to be “no”. But something happened last week that has Josh thinking – and writing – again.
I was invited, along with fifty or so others, to witness a “pagan bonding ritual” that was filled with love and happiness. The single couple that I drove with stated that what we were a part of was an inspiration to them and they might also entertain the idea of the same type of ceremony. (Our couple vowed their love, loyalty and friendship to each other in front of the invited guests, but there was no minister or government certificate.)
I was impressed with the amount of planning and research that went into this ceremony and when Josh called me for something else I told him about my experience. He was so excited and jazzed about the potential for himself that he, too, started researching the possibilities. Below is what Josh sent me yesterday. And as I was last week, I am proud of him today too.
I have no clue how to start this, feel free to start it for me and even share it if you’re like. Cherie and I have decided we both don’t really like the idea of marriage [yet]. We both think a civil union would be a good milestone in our relationship, and would strengthen our shared belief in “marriage = love,” which would only make our love stronger. It also will give me the future opportunity to re-ignite our relationship when marriage does equal love, then I could propose marriage, comfortably. This is a letter I wrote to anybody who we feel needs to understand why we have not and will not be getting married [anytime soon], and instead we will get a civil union. (Grandma’s note: He later figured out that “civil union” is not what he was thinking of having.)
People have immigrated to America for hundreds of years, each for their own reason. The reason is almost always freedom; the freedom to speak freely; the freedom to practice religion; the freedom to choose the number of children wanted; the freedom to succeed even when starting poor; the freedom to choose one’s own path in life; and the freedom to choose a spouse rather than have an arranged marriage. The common reason was almost always the freedom of equal rights for all.
America’s common belief in equal rights asks us to recognize “traditional marriage” which has been evolving for many years. The idea that marriage has always been between one man and one woman is completely false. I am proud that America is, and has been, working on an Americanized version of marriage, one that promotes American ideas, including love. If we left marriage the same way it originally was – a family could choose a spouse for their child. Sometimes a man would be GIVEN several wives and a dowry of material things. Never would we be allowed to marry outside of our race, religion or even class. In these “traditional marriages” love does not play a part in the selection process. Marriage was originally a declaration of ownership. I think most Americans disagree with that and believe that LOVE is the number one important thing in a marriage even though the definition of “love” varies from person to person.
One day I’ll marry, and I already know to whom. Our relationship is stronger than most married couples our age. Our relationship is based on the things I think any marriage should be based on: LOVE, trust, compassion, and respect; because of our beliefs, we have extreme pride in our relationship and both of us will do anything necessary to better it and make whatever self-sacrifices it takes to protect it. Our relationship is not based on someone else’s idea of marriage; it’s based on our love of each other unconditionally.
I have definitely considered marriage, although I feel it would take away from our relationship, and how we both view it. Marriage is currently an unnecessary device which misrepresents what OUR relationship stands for. The purpose of our marriage would not be to procreate, nor would it be for tax reasons, nor because I think our children should live in a married household. It would not be to spend “eternity” together. It would not be in case of divorce someone would receive alimony nor would it be to make me or my girlfriend’s family proud. When marriage means love, I will marry her, she will know why… It will be because of LOVE, trust, compassion and respect, and that is why we will last forever with, or without a piece of paper proclaiming us “married”. Until then, I’m going to propose a pagan union that encompasses the connections we want our relationship to stand for – love, trust, compassion and respect. Marriage is restricted; love should not be.
Grandma’s note: The day after Josh sent me the above letter, he sent me this note:
Well grandma, now I know how the gays feel. In reading about domestic partnerships in California, I learned that because I’m heterosexual and under 62 years of age, I cannot get one. Quite ironic discrimination huh? If a domestic partnership is the same as marriage, why are we forced to choose, marriage, the one which, publicly, the church claims as their own?