going to the courthouse, and they’re gonna get married

The Brides of March: A Memoir of Same-Sex Marriage by Beren DeMotier (149 pgs) 2007

I followed the news avidly four years ago when Multnomah County announced that they would begin offering marriage licenses for same-sex couples. I felt proud that I lived in a community that was making such a strong statement about equal rights.

This slim narrative tells the experience of one family’s personal travels through the same-sex marriage rollercoaster. DeMotier and her partner shared a house, three kids, and 17 years of commitment when the announcement came that they could be legally married. They were among the first of the 3000 couples who rushed to the Multnomah County Courthouse for licenses that month. Surrounded by their children, friends, and their friends’ children in one raucous group they joyously claimed their license and that same afternoon married and witnessed their friends’ marriages.

They were thrilled by the outpouring of support from their community as friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances, and even strangers shared in their happiness. Their excitement and feeling of validation is all the more heartbreaking in the circumstances that followed. Multnomah County eventually rescinded the licenses, declaring all same-sex marriages void at the time of issue, even returning the checks for the license fees. Along with many states, the Oregon State Legislature also later enacted legislature declaring marriage “between one man and one woman.” The Oregon domestic partnership bill that eventually passed in 2007/08 doesn’t make up for the fact that gays are still treated as second-class citizens by our government. But at least it’s a step in a more equal direction, with hopefully more to come.

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2 responses to “going to the courthouse, and they’re gonna get married

  1. It was a glorious year in Oregon! Between March of 2004 and about a year later when the State required that Mult. Co. nullify the marriages. I still have my official state registered marriage license from the whole deal. Most importantly, I still have my love, which NO out of state interest group or conservative legislator could ever “nullify.”

  2. That’s exactly how the author (and everyone I’ve talked to) felt. She was amazed at how “married” official marriage made her feel even after such a long committed relationship. And they still felt just as married after licenses were rescinded. Here’s hoping the federal and state governments eventually recognize the validity as well.

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