Doug and I met May 31, 1995 and have been a "couple" since this day.
In 1995, the world was still getting over Pedro Zamora being HIV positive and appearing on MTV’s “The Real World”.
The world was losing people to HIV/AIDS at an alarming rate and protease inhibitors were just entering the market, allowing people to start to manage their disease.
Ellen had not come out on TV yet, that would not be for another two years.
Colorado the state where Doug and I now reside had just passed amendment 2, denying LGBT people the protection from discrimination, as Colorado saw it, that would allow LGBT people "special rights", today in 2013 we call these special rights “human rights"
18 years is a very long time, and Doug and I, have seen tremendous progress in the struggle to be recognized as a family.
Currently Colorado is in the midst of a political battle to allow "civil unions" and a decision should come by summer.
An organization called One Colorado is working to make this a reality and I'm hopeful in my lifetime not just in Colorado, but also across America, Doug are offered full legal rights and responsibilities as a family.
So today, while visiting the department of records to update the deed to our home, I noticed the area is also the same area to "get married".
A thought came to me, why not ask and see what happens? What is the worse they can say? Could they look me in the eye and say, no?
So we approached the counter and I proudly proclaimed
"We would like to marry"
The young lady at the desk, glanced downward and then looked me in the eye with a sorrow that said she had utter these words before, and gently she said, "I'm sorry, we can't do that, but I'm hopeful one day we will have something for you"
Immediately I felt terrible, why would I think it was a good idea to place this lady in such a uncomfortable position, obviously had been asked many times over the years and the toll of letting people down was starting to wearing on her.
I quickly said, "Please, don't be sorry, I just wanted to see what your answer would be".
She smiled and proceeded with our deed work for the property.
While processing the paper work she said, "It's going to be very busy in here in a few days"she was referring to Valentines Day, February 14.
This got me thinking about the process of getting married again, so I inquired, "Do a lot of people come to marry on Valentines Day?"
She responded, "Yes, Colorado is one of three self solemnize states"
What I discovered next shocked and enraged me.
Self Solemnization allows couples to perform their "own marriage" by signing a piece of paper and paying 30.00.
That is all there is. No fuss, no muss. Heck take a number and ask for 1/2 lb of ham while you're waiting.
So, I pressed a little further, "Does this mean that anyone can come in and just get married in just a few minutes?"
"Yes", she replied.
This got my mind racing, how could marriage be so easy, but cause so much division among people. So I pressed on with my questions.
"Have you ever had anyone come in intoxicated and get married?"
The young lady said, "Unfortunately often, once in a while, one time a gal came in and said “I was stoned last night, can you void this transaction”".
Obviously at this point, I was so hurt, offended and angry, not with this law or the process or the people who made this happen, but how easily anyone EXCEPT FOR ME, could come in and just throw marriage against the wall and see if it stuck.
A quick Google search while waiting while I continued to wait, was the final straw for me.
In this same building you could register your pet, but it cost five times more, close to 200.00 than the "self marriage" certificate and took 1-2 weeks, not immediately like the self marriage certificate.
So I stood there with the full realization, that it was more difficult to adopt a stray dog than it was for two drunk heterosexuals to get married, and a fraction of the cost.
How in a civilized society can my love be so invalidated?
The clerk could tell I was obviously distressed, by the look on my face; I shared with her the stats on licensing a pet.
She said, "Well until it's legal, you could fill out this paper work that allows you to be "designated beneficiaries"".
I looked at Doug, took the paper work, paid the fee and Doug and I were pronounced, "Designated Beneficiary" at 3:17pm, February 6, 2013"
On the way out the door, with a piece of paper that stated, if we die, we can vouch for each other, I decided to snap the photo and place it on Facebook.
I'm not asking that you change your political views or even that you support equality for my human and family rights.
I would like you to though, give deep thought to the of the "sanctity of marriage" and what it means to spay and license your cat in the City and county of Denver.
Until we are all free, none of us are.