Twenty-two years ago I met the man of my dreams. The man with whom I knew I’d want to spend the rest of my life. It was a very natural feeling, organic almost. I just knew.

If marriage equality were legal back then, I would have married him right then and there. We would wait for almost to a decade and a half before we would see anything even close to that.

During that time, especially early on, we never thought, not for a second, that we would ever have the chance to be a married couple. It seemed as if, to the government, our relationship would always be considered substandard.
Regardless of how the government felt, in our minds we were married. We lived together, opened joint bank accounts and took care of each other. We bought matching marriage bands and referred to each other as “husband”.

You could imagine our surprise when we woke up one morning to find that a levelheaded California judge issued a ruling that declared California’s ban on marriage equality unconstitutional and we were now allowed to get married.

I remember the day on which he proposed. It was during West Hollywood’s gay pride celebration of 2008. He took me into Rage, the bar in which we met, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes and he presented me with a beautiful Cartier ring. It was an incredible moment for us. One that I will remember for the rest of my life.

One we would not have were it not for marriage equality.

We were married on August 9th in a small ceremony at our home in Woodland Hills. Our closest family and friends were there. My best friend stood by me as best man and my sister gave me away. The minister gave us a beautiful, non-religious ceremony, which we had a hand in creating. My hands were shaking as we exchanged rings. In a moment of cuteness and charm, my husband took the wrong hand when presenting my ring and everyone got a nice giggle out of it. All weddings have those nervous moments of imperfection that bring memories of poignant distinction. We kissed. Something most people in the room had never seen us do, although we had seen most of them kiss. We had a wedding reception at a local restaurant with toasts and speeches. Afterward, we all went back to our house and had cake, which we cut together and fed to each other.

Again, memories we wouldn’t have were it not for marriage equality.

I remember very distinctly the subtle, yet powerful difference I felt after that moment our minister pronounced us married. There seemed to be solidification in my mind that this was for forever. Not that I hadn’t thought that before, but the act of standing in front of our family and friends and going through the actions of a wedding that was equal to everyone else’s marriage in that room had a very powerful, leveling effect on the entire experience.

Of course we would further face many obstacles in our marriage from a legal standpoint. Proposition 8 was on the 2008 election ballot. It, of course, passed by a slim margin, There were appeals that went to the California Supreme Court – a decision on which we’d wait for close to a year, a ruling that our marriage would stand, but that the rest of our gay couple friends wouldn’t have that opportunity, another California judge declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional and that decision being taken all the way up to the Untied States Supreme Court, who dismissed the expected appeal. It all seems so absurd to me as I write it. All that time. All that money. Just to allow those to marry the ones they love.

If a person doesn’t support marriage equality, let them have their marriage hang in the balance for years at a time, being used as a political pawn by self-serving politicians and narrow-minded people.

All of this has just made our marriage stronger. There is a level of eternal commitment and love that happens internally when you are married.

There is a difference. It’s subtle, but it’s there.

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Sean Chandler is a happily married award-winning writer, podcaster and activist. Of his projects, “At The Flash”, a play co-written with his husband David Leeper and under the direction of David Zak, had it’s world premiere in Chicago at the Center on Halsted’s Hoover-Leppen Theatre, west coast premiere at the Celebration Theatre in West Hollywood and will next have it’s European premiere at the International Dublin Gay Theater Festival. Sean can also be heard as Ace Lundon’s co-host on the “Lundon Calling Empty Closet Series” podcast.

He is a proud member of the Dramatist Guild and Pride Films and Plays Writers Network. For more information visit:

www.seanwchandler.com,

www.attheflash.com,

https://www.facebook.com/sean.chandler.3,

https://twitter.com/seanattheflash

https://www.facebook.com/LundonCallingTheEmptyClosetSeries