This morning, we did it – converted our existing civil partnership to formal marriage. Not a wedding, no grand celebration: the time for that was 9 years ago, at the civil partnership ceremony. This was just a legal procedure at the Guildford Registrar’s office, costing all of £8.
It’s good to have done it, but I’ve now experienced one conventional, formal marriage lasting 9 years, followed by an informal committed relationship amounting to what was in effect a legally unrecognized common- law marriage (19 years in total), the now defunct civil partnership lasting just under a further 9 years. That first marriage began over 40 years ago. During those four decades, I’ve fathered two children, and supported by my spouses, watched them grow, mature, marry and produce children of their own. I’ve also gone through grief and bereavement for my own parents and brother, supported by my partner – and supported him through the deaths of his own mother and other family members.
I’ve experienced divorce, and a further painful separation. My spouse(s) and I have shared and supported each other through myriad joyful celebrations and difficult trials, trivial and serious. I think I’ve earned enough in practical experience of the realities of marriage, to claim some understanding of what it’s all about.
As I begin this new marriage,and largely agree with Stephen Sondheim, in “Company” – It’s the little things you share together, that make perfect relationships. (Like Joanne in the video clip above, “I’ve done it three or four times”).
It’s the little things you share together,
That make perfect relationships.
The concerts you enjoy together,
Neighbors you annoy together,
Children you destroy together
Becoming a cliche together,
Growing old and gray together
Withering away together
That make marriage a joy.
It’s not so hard to be married
It’s much the simplest of crimes
It’s not so hard to be married
I’ve done it three or four times.
First, the personal (because the personal is political).
Tomorrow morning (Wednesday), Raymond and I have an appointment at Guildford registry office to formally convert our current civil partnership to legal marriage. This is not a “wedding” – in effect, the important bit was done some years ago. This is simply a legal formality, to change the wording – but words and language matter. The fact is,
And now – the political:
Slovenia has just become the first Central European / former Soviet bloc country to approve marriage and family equality.
Slovenian lawmakers have approved same-sex marriage and child adoption by gay couples amid opposition from conservative groups and the Catholic Church.
Parliament voted 51:28 Tuesday to pass changes to the family law allowing homosexual couples to marry and adopt children. Slovenia in the past allowed same-sex partnership union, but without the right to child adoption.
Earlier Tuesday, a few thousand people protested at a rally dubbed “Children Are At Stake” to voice their opposition to the changes. Opponents have announced plans to force a referendum on the issue after a similar bid was rejected in a vote three years ago.
Leftist lawmaker Matej Vatovec said the parliamentary support ensured Slovenia will become a “truly tolerant and inclusive community.” He said “today Slovenia is entering the 21st century.”