Stop Recognizing MarriagesVia Pam's House Blend, I just came across a blog post at Religious Dispatches where the author, Tom Ackerman, is trying out a new social experiment where he refuses to recognize marriages.
Instead of using the words "husband," "wife," or "spouse," Tom has decided to use words like "special friend," "longtime companion," "boyfriend," "girlfriend," etc. As an example he talks about asking a man how his longtime companion was. When the man responded by saying she was his wife, Tom told him that his beliefs don't recognize marriage. It's fair is you ask me...if their beliefs don't recognize my marriage, why can't I do the same thing?
My first reaction to the idea was to laugh. It is all a bit humorous. But then it kind of sounded like a good idea. As accepting as J's dad is of both of us, every now and then he'll chicken out when introducing me to someone and introduce me as J's "good friend." Of course, I'm not hating on J's dad, because my dad really won't even go that far, but my point is that even many accepting folks still have trouble using the word husband or spouse. Maybe if I started introducing J's Dad and Mom has "special friends" they'd see the difference.
Now I feel like I really am picking on J's dad. I'm not. I'm using him as an example that even really accepting people are sometimes afraid to take the linguistic leap. If we were straight, they wouldn't even think about it (heck, they'd probably be proud to say spouse), but since we're gay, they're stuck in some kind of word limbo.
I don't think I'm going to run around "refusing to accept" marriages on a regular basis, but it's an interesting idea, and I might just try it out from time to time. If civil unions (which aren't even legal in my state for the record) are so great because they're just as good as marriage, albeit with a different name, then maybe married people should hear the differences for themselves from time to time.
I can't wait to tell my mom and her "special friend" about this!