Other 23: Put a Ring on It (repost)

From my book, "Other." Want to read more from the book? Ask me for the password! 

In November of 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that banning gay marriage was unconstitutional and gave legislature 180 days to come up with a solution. Civil unions wouldn’t cut it. Gay marriage could start taking place as soon as May, and the only thing that could change that is an amendment to the Constitution. 180 days later, on February 4, 2004, the Massachusetts Supreme Court announced that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would be starting to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on May 17th.

Chantelle and I, knowing full well that we would never be apart again, decided to get the ball rolling on our wedding plans. We began trying to save for engagement rings and planning how to propose. While we were trying to figure out ways to surprise the other with popping the question, we both figured out that March 2, 2004 was a special day that couldn’t go by without recognition. 3/2/04 was a date that wouldn’t happen again for another hundred years. It fit perfectly into our 324 theme, since the day we got together was March 24th.

We decided to propose to each other on the same day.

The story of our engagement fits us perfectly. It was spontaneous, emotional, and symbolic. And it revolved around 324! On our way home from work, we tried to find a nice, romantic spot by the water. We couldn’t find a place that we liked, it started to rain, and the sun had set. We decided to ditch that plan and started to drive around aimlessly, but filled with excitement, while we tried to come up with another idea.

Suddenly, I had a bloody nose. That normally wouldn’t be a big deal but Chantelle had never had one, so they scared her. On our ride to “somewhere,” we stopped to heal my bloody nose and Chantelle’s frightened mind. We cried as we talked about how nothing bad could happen to either one of us and we agreed that the best idea would be to go where we always went after momentous occasions so far -- Chili’s. They day after we got together, we went to Chilis. The day we shared our first kiss, we went to Chili’s. Why should this be any different?

We parked in front of the restaurant, exchanged rings and proposals, and kissed. Then, we went inside for dinner. 

~~~~~~~ {other} ~~~~~~~

On May 17th, Chantelle and I woke up with all intentions of heading over to Boston’s City Hall on our lunch break to watch the festivities. It was the first day that gay couples could legally obtain marriage certificates and a few weeks from the date we has chosen for our small ceremony.

We met at the Park Street stop on the Green Line and headed over to City Hall. Hundreds of people gathered around the steps with their rainbow flags and the streets were lined with media trucks. The outer edges of the festivities were scattered with onlookers and, of course, protesters. Everyone ignored them. Nobody could take this day away from those who had fought so hard to win the right to have it.

We watched as people came out of City Hall, holding hands and grinning wildly as they were paraded through a civilian reception line filled with people singing “Going to the Chapel” and yelling congratulations as loudly as they could. It was beautiful. People were handing out flowers and hugs and handshakes to everyone. In all of the excitement, we were overcome with the feeling of joy and happiness. We looked at each other and agreed that today was the day to get our license. Who knew if the government would take it back in the next few weeks? We wanted to be a part of today. Now.

We found a GLAAD representative and asked her how busy it was inside. She smiled at and said, “Not at all... were you two planning to get your certificate today?” With that, she showed us up the stairs to City Hall and into history.

We walked past the security guards (who kindly congratulated us), and down the escalator to the marriage license window. We were couple number 85 in the city of Boston to register for a same-sex marriage license. 

On the way out, there were two ways to exit City Hall. We could sneak out the side (which I thought Chantelle would surely opt for, since she was usually so shy) or we could go out the front and be heralded and handed flowers and cheered (which I really wanted to do). I started to ask her where she wanted to go. I barely had the question out of my mouth before she, surprisingly, amazingly, (sexily), pulled my hand and led us out the front door. We smiled from ear to ear and walked through the crowd. At the end of the procession of congratulations, we were interviewed by representatives from a Japanese newspaper.

We were 3 weeks away from legally becoming wife and wife, forever and for always.