To say that I was ecstatic when gay marriage was finally recognized in the Supreme court. Massachusetts was ahead of time in terms of accepting LGBT people so this was just an added bonus. One of the tricky bits had been about bringing my long-term boyfriend Marx from Ukraine. We had discussed this and decided that he would just be doing visits. I would also visit Europe but it was getting a bit difficult. Spending weeks without seeing him was a complete nightmare. I would have done anything to be with him, even moving to Europe. We had met when he was here doing his engineering degree. The attraction was instant.
When his visa expired and he had to return home, I was devastated. It was never in doubt that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Marx but I was not sure whether I should propose or leave things in his hands. That is one of the complications of gay relationships…who proposes and who accepts or refuses? Marx later told me that he wanted to propose but thought the better of it because he did not want to give me the impression that he was looking for a visa. Marx can be incredibly proud of his homeland. I get the feeling that he thinks all Americans secretly despise all former Soviet nations. Anyway, eventually, I did pluck the courage to propose. Marx was delighted and said yes. He then told me about this worries that I would think he only wanted a visa.
Marriage: The Right to Bring LGBT Partners to the USA
When I checked with our lawyer, he told me that although our state allowed gay marriage; the real difficulties would be with Homeland security and State Department. At that point, the federal government had not yet fully recognized gay marriage (even though Obama had given every indication that he wanted to move on this issue). That meant that I could not obtain a spousal visa, let alone a green card for Marx. How would he live in the USA without papers? Marx suggested that we move to Ukraine. That did not appeal to me much, although eventually, I had to resign myself to that eventually. No price was too high for us being together. So we started making plans for the move.
In the meantime, the gay marriage case was making its very slow way through the courts. Every defeat an injunction was like a major heart attack to me. My dream was for gay marriage to be recognized so that we could be happy together. I knew this was going to be a very ask. The forces of prejudice had assembled all their armies to lose this critical battle. The legal arguments against gay marriage seemed absolutely ridiculous to me but I knew that the ball was out of my hands. It was not me who was going to make the decision but someone entirely different who may not even share anything with me apart from the fact that we were both Americans.
Marx told me not to fret too much about it. If things did not work out, we could always go to Ukraine. Anyway, you can imagine my delight when the battle was won. I was a bit miffed that the victory was so narrow. Our fate as citizens of this great country was in the hands of a single judge and I thought that a bit sad. I would nevertheless, take everything and anything that I could get from the deal. We immediately applied for a civil marriage in order to take advantage of the new openings. Just to be sure, I also had a church wedding (our church allows gay marriage and did so long before the federal authorities caught up with the modern world).
A Lovely Wedding
It was the most beautiful wedding you could imagine. In my mind, I imagined Marx’s parents to be dour Conservatives who would not approve of anything that we did. I could not be any more misguided in my own prejudices. Quite clearly, they adored their son and would do anything to see him happy. His sister and her husband were there. My entire family came and we had a wonderful time. It was definitely a dream come true. I remember all those days when I kept campaigning for gay rights at the community center, I never ever imagined that marriage would be on the table. That was the exclusive preserve of straight people and I accepted that as a gay man there was no way I would be part of that.
I was not even entirely sure that I wanted to be married at the time. It seems so old-fashioned and limiting. I liked dating and enjoying my life. The idea of being stuck in a staid marriage was not my idea of marriage. Marx had changed all that. A kind, considerate and entirely dependable man. After the honeymoon (in Paris), we settled down to our life in suburbia. Marx loved it. He was into his element and really liked the idea of having everything settled. Adopting a child seemed like the next logical step so we started. I was determined that I was going to adopt one of the “unwanted” since I had been discriminated against before when I wanted to adopt the premium “white kids” that they offered to the straight couples. This time that I had a choice, I would go for those that had been rejected by their hypocritical standards.
Brad was 3 years old. His mum had been a Meth addict and had given him up at birth. Foster parents had looked after him but now they were looking for someone to take him in a permanent adoption. We applied and were accepted. Things were looking up with a new little family. Marx’s relatives would come to visit regularly and I was beginning to learn their language. We made a point of going to Europe at least once a year so that he would not feel isolated from his own. As far as everybody could tell, I was blissfully happy.
Trouble in Paradise
Then I started becoming bored with the whole thing…I know that people are going to call me spoilt but that is just the way I am. Suburbia does not suit me. I get bored easily and this marriage thing was getting to me. I cannot fault Marx; he could not be more perfect even if he tried. It is just that I had checked out of the family man thing. I loved Brad and Marx but I felt trapped in Suburbia. What was even more frustrating…is the fact that Marx seemed to be blossoming in the marriage. He liked the stability, had a great job and was now an American citizen. I feel like the party pooper and it made our relationship even worse because I was always being eaten away by guilt.
Marx does not want a divorce and quite bizarrely, he tells me it is against God’s law. I mean…a gay man saying that anything is against “God’s law” brings up all sorts of controversies. I have to admit that it was my fault for insisting that we go to a Church wedding. I did want it because we had campaigned so much for the right to marry that I felt it would be churlish not to make use of the opportunity. Now the prize is turning out to be a poisoned chalice. Marx has stated that he will not sign any divorce papers because he loves me and knows that I love him. He says that I am just bored and as soon as the divorce is over, I will be wanting to get back together. So he has decided that to cut the long story short…he will just not divorce me.
Divorce Options for Gay People
I have been told that the civil part of the marriage poses no problems for the divorce and that they will go through the waiting periods before granting the final decree. This can happen even if Marx says no. The Church is a bit complicated. We had been conducted into the community and the elders are saying that they would prefer it if we get through counseling rather than divorcing. However, I have been warned that if we divorce; they will not marry me again in the Church. I admit I was told this even before the wedding during the counseling. This seems to delight Marx who says that there is absolutely nothing wrong with our marriage.
Brad is also another thing that I am struggling to deal with. I hate to go through the whole custody thing because I know that Marx is a very good parent. There is also a little voice telling me that I might be throwing away something good on a whim. Maybe, I am living up to that stereotype of gays that will never settle. One thing is certain…gay marriage is not all that. I think I prefer my old life.