2 min

Us married? Nope

Long-term couples wonder about nuptials for themselves

Credit: Xtra files

Douglas Elliott has been with his partner Greg Lawrence for 27 years. As a lawyer he has spent years at the forefront of legal battles for same-sex rights including the one for marriage.

Yet he doesn’t know if he will ever get married himself.

“I may marry. I may not. To me, it was about choice,” he says. Elliott is not alone. For couples who have been together a long time, marriage can seem like an afterthought.

“It’s anti-climatical,” says Elliott. “The honeymoon was over a long time ago.

“If I was a young gay man,in love and embarking on a life together with someone I would think it’s a natural next step. But in my life it has never been a natural next step…. Maybe I’ll be like Moses and never enter the Promised Land. I’ll just watch other people go in.”

For others, the reasons against getting hitched are more about their dislike of the institution of marriage itself rather than any personal inhibitions.

While Jane Cullingworth’s MP Charles Caccia will soon be getting an earful about the need for same-sex marriage in Canada, he won’t be receiving a wedding invite. Jane and her partner of five years, Bonnie Slade, have no interest in joining the “patriarchal marriage institution.”

“I come from the perspective that it’s a right. For all the problems that I see in the institution of marriage it doesn’t take away from the fact that anyone should be able to choose to get married if they want,” says Cullingworth, who has signed petitions in favour of same-sex marriage. “As more of a progressive perspective is brought to marriage, and gay and lesbian couples could be part of that, the whole institution of marriage is strengthened.”

Along the same lines, Patricia Wilson, a bartender at Buddies and Vazaleen and a member of the band Crackpuppy, says that while she and her partner Hélène Ducharme support the changes for others they have no interest themselves, even after 10 years together.

“Marriage belongs to the dominant culture. They’ve never really given us anything but TV programs of what their version of lesbian and gay are, so why should we succumb to their view of what they see as normal?” says Wilson.

Spike Harris, a Vancouver dyke, is even further distanced from it. She supports marriage, but in the same way she supports the rights of gay men and lesbians to join the military.

“I don’t want any part of it,” she says, “but as a human rights issue, I support the rights of gays and lesbians to get married, and to join the military, be used as cannon fodder, and have their asses blown sky high.”

An older lesbian I spoke with says “It’s funny, I know a number of people, myself included, who support the marriage thing, but would never want it personally, and so feel we’re letting down the team if we say so.”