Yes, they can register, but when it's not legal, it's not the same

A newlywed wishes her nonstraight friends could enjoy all the perks of marriage.

Published May 30, 2006 6:44PM (EDT)

I remember whirling around at my wedding, dancing what could be called an extreme hora, watching the faces of my gay friends and sister-in-law spin past, and thinking, "It is so not fair that we can do this and they can't." Which is why a truly lovely article at by newlywed Sumana Harihareswara caught my eye. Harihareswara counts herself as "lucky" not only because the required waiting period in New York, where she got married, is only 24 hours between license and ceremony, while New Hampshire, say, makes you hold off for three days. "More broadly," she writes, "I'm lucky because I live in 2006, so no one so much as blinks at my interracial and interfaith marriage where no one's changing his name or leaving her job."

She continues: "About a month into my married life, I find myself wishing more often that I could extend all the privileges of marriage to my non-heterosexual friends. Their waiting period is their whole lives."

She lists some of the perks she gets to enjoy that they, mainly, do not: "Almost all legal, social and religious institutions in our country and throughout the world recognize our commitment and consider us a family. Friends, strangers, acquaintances, bureaucrats and coworkers just accept my marital status, no questions asked. He and I can sleep in the same bed when we visit relatives. My wedding ring fends off would-be suitors. My parents are happy for me. My presence at the funeral of my husband's relative excites no comment." Read the article for the rest; it may not be news to you, but it's truly moving.

(The article also reminded me that my husband and I, at the brilliant suggestion of one of the rabbis who married us, had made a wedding donation to LAMBDA, sort of as a "straight tax." Just a thought for those of you heading into wedding season.)

Harihareswara's kicker -- an admonition to those who oppose same-sex marriage -- is so spot-on that I'm just going to have to give it away: "How decadent, how arrogant, how unloving, how wasteful we are to act as though we have enough loving partnerships and families!" she exclaims. "As though we can afford to spurn aspirants. How long should they wait?"

By Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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