Husbands, not Partners
Partner implies difference. It implies that if you’re partners, you’re not married. And I suppose I should understand it’s true, and until the Republican party gets their heads out of their asses, it’s not likely to change. But when comparing partners to a married couple, nothing changes. You live together, sleep together, raise kids together, go shopping together. Gender has nothing to do with those things, so I don’t understand why it should influence what you call it.
Partner implies being friends, not lovers. When I think of partner, I first think of any law show I’ve watched in the last ten years. Lawyers and suits, not seeing any love here. Then I think of an old western sheriff with his impressive mustache, sparkling star-shaped badge, and cowboy boots saying “howdy, partner.” Friends yes, lovers not so much. Hell, when you and your best friend decide to do something together, you call yourselves partners and shake on it. Unless he’s a really good friend, I doubt you’re thinking about love there.
Partner implies inequality. To me, it shows that even if you’re an adorable gay couple living in the suburbs in your two-story colonial with a white picket fence, two kids, and a dog… you’re still not good enough to be married. You’re putting up a damn good acting job, but you’re still not a married couple. You’re not normal, and there’s nothing you can do about it unless you’re in one of the very few states that allows gay marriage. Partner is a promise of almost. You’re almost good enough to be like the rest of us, but not quite.
No one has to fly to Canada to prove to me that they are a married couple, nor do they need to produce a marriage certificate just to prove the fact that they are husbands or wives. If you and boyfriend or girlfriend decide that you are going to live together, start a family, and spend the rest of your lives being happy, you can call yourselves husbands or wives and it’s not anyone else’s fucking business. When I see people call each other partner, it makes me think that they’re conforming to what society says they are allowed to be (and what they’re not). That pisses me off.
If I am lucky enough to fall madly in love someday, he’ll be my boyfriend. If we decide we want to take it a step further and get married, he’ll be my fiance. And when we get married - whether it’s a star-studded affair my mother has always dreamed of, or a quickie wedding in Las Vegas, or a simple pair of signatures at the Town Hall, he’ll be my husband. If I end up moving away and living in a state that doesn’t allow gay marriage, or if for some ungodly reason New York State bans gay marriage again, he’ll still be my husband.
We will be husbands, not partners. As long as he knows that and as long as I know that, that’s all that matters to me.
Dear Future Boyfriend/Husband,
I will never lie about who you are.
I will never pretend you aren’t my boyfriend.
Not to my parents,
Not to my family,
Not to my co-workers,
Not to my friends.
I won’t call you my “best friend” around my homophobic cousins.
I won’t let my parents call you my “special friend” around my grandmother, who believes homosexuality is an abomination.
I won’t hide in the closet if I have you.
I won’t lie about you when someone asks what we are, regardless of the costs.
Because I value you.
I cherish you.
I don’t want to lose you.
I won’t stop holding your hand in public because it’s not fully accepted.
I won’t not kiss you when we’re out and about just because someone who is homophobic may be watching.
I won’t have other people tell me how I should treat someone I love.
You are worth more to me than all of that.
I won’t ever lead you to believe you are anything but the most important person in my life.
When we get married, even if it’s not legal, I’ll wear a wedding ring and call you my husband.
And everyone will know you’re all mine.
I will have pictures of us on my desk at work,
And on my phone,
And in my wallet.
Because I want them to see what we have.
I will not let homophobia dictate anything about our relationship.
Because I love you.