Friday, December 20th started out pretty bad. I’ve been exhausted over the last few weeks with everything going on with Tough Cookie, trying to get ready for Christmas and finishing our dining room project, sleep has eluded me. I spent all day Thursday at my dad and Tough Cookie’s house taking “care” of her. She was worried about my pregnant self lifting her up and down but I’m pretty tough too. At least I was until I woke up on Friday. I woke up with a migraine and an incredibly sore back. I texted Anxious Yogi and let her know I wasn’t feeling good and would be in to the office later. I laid in bed trying ice packs and hot packs, sleeping and meditation. Eventually I decided I had to get to work so I got up took some tylenol and headed off. I barely showered and threw my barely long enough hair into somewhat of a pony tail. Short story, I looked terrible and felt almost as terrible.
That afternoon at about 2:20 I checked fb. I was shocked to see a post from some LGBT organization (there were so many, I don’t remember which one I saw first) and a link to a local paper’s story that a federally appointed district judge named Robert J. Shelby issued a ruling that found the State of Utah’s Constitutional Amendment 3 (proclaiming marriage to be only between one man and one woman) to be unconstitutional. I had been following the case very closely. The hearing was a few weeks prior and Shelby said he’d make a decision by his self-imposed deadline of January 7th. I thought nothing would happen until then. I was pretty confident that he would rule in the favor of equality, he was appointed by Obama after all. I definitely did NOT expect him to not issue a stay with his ruling.
I scrolled through my news feed seeing post after post about the ruling. Then, I saw one from the Utah Pride Center that said “Breaking News: Judge Shelby has struck down Utah’s ban on Same Sex Marriage. We will keep you updated with news as the day progresses! If you are part of a same sex couple wanting to get married, now is the time to visit the clerks office!”
I texted Jamie at and this is how the convo went.
2:26 me: Guess what guess what?
2:27 J: omg! What!
2:27 me: The judge struck down Utah’s ban on marriage.
2:31 me: There is no stay so we can file for a license immediately
2:54 J: Omg!
2:55 me: We can get a license today
2:55 J: Oh my
2:56 me: Can you leave early? They are only open till 5 and not open on the weekend
2:57 J: yes
2:58 J: I’m in flannel and snow boots!
The last text is my personal favorite. I ran downstairs and told my many gay coworkers and boss that we could get married in Utah…right NOW. They thought my excitement was just adorable. After a phone call and a few more texts, J and I decided to leave work right then and get married that day. I told my boss I was going to get married and raced home. Jamie kept calling because she was stuck in traffic. There was an accident and she was worried we wouldn’t make it in time. She called some of our best friends and asked them to come be our witnesses. While I waited for her, I made myself look a more presentable for my wedding day. When she finally got home, Jamie changed out of her flannel and snow boots. Then, we raced around the house tearing it apart looking for her passport. Xena took a bite out of her driver’s license and we didn’t want to risk them not accepting it as valid ID. Finally we found it, it a suitcase of course, and Jamie drove like a Nascar driver to the County Clerk’s office. By now it was just after 4:00 pm.
We ran in and immediately saw two couples (close friends of ours) who had each just gotten married. They came with us upstairs and we began our long long wait. The line didn’t look that long, but it took us nearly two hours to get to the front. During those two hours we experienced every emotion possible. When we were close to the front we heard the State of Utah was filing a for an emergency stay. We were so scared that we weren’t going to be able to get married, everyone was. There were constant cheers as couples were married downstairs. When word of the emergency stay request spread, officiants and ministers came upstairs and started marrying couples right there in the middle of the crowd. It was so many things; chaotic, beautiful, loving, romantic and not all at the same time. News cameras were everywhere.
Finally we got our license and quickly found a minister ready to marry a couple. It turns out he is the brother of one of my sister’s best friends. Small world. I had grabbed our vows from our ceremony 3 1/2 years ago. I read mine as fast as I could. Jamie said her vows and then we repeated the traditional vows and promises after the minister. And then he said, by the power vested in me by the State of Utah, I now pronounce you wife and wife. The best words I have ever heard.
We were now legally married. Both of our names will be on Bubbles’ birth certificate. Jamie can put Bubbles on her insurance. We don’t have to go to another state to get married, pretend to be residents, and get an expensive 2nd parent adoption months after Bubbles is born. Our baby will be both of ours in the eyes of our home state. The one we reluctantly decided to move back to so that we could be near our families. We had to put our desire to raise our kids near their family over the legal protection of our family, not an easy decision to make, and now we get to have both.
2 1/2 years ago, while strolling along a beach in South Africa, Jamie and I made a bet. I, the ever optimist, declared that we would be able to get legally married in Utah within 10 years. Jamie was not convinced. I said that if I won the bet, she had to take me to Fiji to celebrate our legal marriage. If she won, well then no one really won. Fiji here we come! It’ll have to wait until Bubbles gets here, but I can’t wait. To be honest, being able to call my wife my wife without a clarification that we aren’t really legally married.