When Eddie and I woke up this morning, Eddie said, "Say, it’s our fourth wedding anniversary, isn’t it?"
"Oh, yeah, it sure is," I said, offering him a sleepy kiss. "Happy anniversary!"
And we proceeded with our morning.
I know that sounds pretty unromantic. Eddie and I do feel nice about being legally married in the first state where that has become possible. We should be able to be married. It’s an equal justice issue.
The fact is, though, that Eddie and I are very clear on when our real anniversary is, and it’s not July 25, no matter how heartfelt a ceremony of re-commitment we had before a gathering of our family and friends on that day four years ago. Like most long-term gay and lesbian couples who have exchanged marriage vows in Massachusetts, Canada, and now California since same-sex marriages became legal in those places, Eddie and I have a strong sense of dual anniversaries. And for us, the one to take special note of will come around next April 15, when we will have been together thirty years.
Such thoughts do send one spiraling back through time to the days when our relationship was new. So today I’ll share with you a photograph from Eddie’s and my first year, when we attended the very first national March of Washington for gay and lesbian rights.
It was exciting—but also a true test of endurance, as is suggested in a sketch I later drew based on that photo in which you can see what we were thinking when that photo was taken.
There have been three LGBT Marches on Washington since that first one in 1979, and the organizers learned an important lesson from that first one. That lesson was: if you’re going to hold a massive, all-day outdoor political demonstration, go for warm weather. And for God’s sake, don’t do it on a rainy, overcast day in October when frostbite begins competing with bladder overload for the attention of participants who would rather be thinking about loftier matters.
Such as what seemed an almost impossible dream in 1979: that someday the gays sloshing through the icy puddles on that field would no longer be frozen out of a major social institution that heterosexuals have been taking for granted for as long as anyone can remember.