I am a 51 year old female.  I am a recovering republican, who is actually more libertarian leaning.    I love dogs.  Really I love all animals.  I attend church regularly.  I tithe regularly.  I volunteer my time regularly.  I was saved at a Billy Graham crusade in 1977 and walked down to that huge football field all by myself because I wanted to be in the family of Jesus.  I have not always given my relationship with Jesus the time, attention and faithfulness it deserves, but I have always returned to my basic Christian core beliefs.  I have sung in choirs, taught Sunday school and participated in multiple ministerial outreaches.

I love college football.  I have worked for the same agency since 1987.  I have lived in the same community since 1987.  I pay my taxes and file my taxes on time.  I believe voting is not only a privilege but a responsibility.  I have a grown foster son whom I adore, who makes me proud on a daily basis simply by just being.  I am a stable, law abiding citizen, as well as a good neighbor.

I am getting married in 24 days.  I am marrying a remarkable, loving, compassionate, intelligent, beautiful, God loving woman.  I realize some of you just referred back to the first sentence to double check because you thought you just read I am marrying a woman.  Yes I am marrying a woman. That is the good news.

The bad news is we are being required to travel thousands of miles to get married.  Because of the distance, time and financial obligation it takes, we are being married without many people whom we love and adore in attendance.  We have to arrive 3 days early to declare our intent to marry and then wait 72 hours, thousands of miles from home so we can get married.  We have to get married on a Thursday so logistically we can file our marriage intentions on Monday, wait the required 72 hours, have a ceremony, then get the papers back to the Town Clerk by Friday to register our nuptials.

We will file Federal tax returns as a married couple, and then have to refigure them as single people so we can file our State taxes.  Even through our home State law says it is illegal to file your State taxes with a different marital status then the Federal taxes (talk about a pill in the jam).

I say all of this to say, marriage means something.  Not just to opposite sex folks.  Why are we jumping through all of these hoops, when it is simply easier to go with the status quo and wait for legal marriage to arrive in our home State?  For many reasons, one of which is there are 1138 Federal benefits married couples qualify for that unmarried couples do not.  That in and of itself is a compelling enough reason; but the real reason we decide to do this is because we love each other.  We want to protect each other.

I was recently diagnosed with cancer.  In the hospital, the doctor’s offices, the pathology labs, etc. I did not have a life partner; I had a “sister” or “a person”.  In my home state, when I die, the funeral home has the LEGAL right to deny my life partner the right to make my funeral arrangements.  The hospitals can refuse to allow her to spend the night with me during my multiple surgeries because we are not family.   My biological family who has not spoken to me in years can fight my WILL in court, because she and I are not married and not considered family.

It is ironic to me when over 50% of all marriages are ending in divorce (and were ending at that rate before same-sex marriage became an issue) why is it that same sex marriage is “destroying” the institution of marriage? I have never been able to figure that one out.

Same sex couples have a much harder road to become legally married.  Yet, we still jump through all those hoops, to experience the luxury and wonder of being married.  When opposite sex people are getting married less frequently and waiting longer to get married, same sex couples are begging for the right to be treated as equals.

When opposite sex people have the option of a covenant marriage, which is harder to get out of, and refuse to do it I am puzzled.  If you are not that serious about marriage and are already looking for the easiest way to dissolve it “should things go south” why bother?  My fiancée and I would enter a covenant marriage in a heartbeat … but alas we are not allowed to do so.

I really do not understand why the gay community has to beg to be offered solace and membership in church families, and after repeated rejection we continue to stand at the door and continue to knock.  Hoping one day someone will find us worthy of God’s love, even if the church membership cannot find it in their heart to love us.  We are begging to be allowed to be married.  The fact that we have to beg is pathetic.  We live in a secular world, where legal unions should be available to everyone.  People who are not citizens of this great country are allowed to marry, while gay citizens are not.

If you don’t want us getting married in your churches, I am fine with that.  If you want to make a policy where it is not allowed by your denomination, I am fine with that.  But do not tell me in a secular society I cannot legally do something that other citizens and non-citizens are allowed to do when I work hard, pay my taxes and live a law abiding life.  It is time for that double standard to go.  It is an undue hardship on those of us who want the dream of a marriage.  Who deserve the dream of a marriage.  It is time for same sex couples to be able to get married in their home communities surrounded by people they love and whose support is paramount to them, instead of being forced to travel thousands of miles.

I am a lesbian and I am going to be a wife in a God honoring marriage.   In 24 days I am getting married and I could not be happier or more blessed.