My Canadian Marriage Never Mattered

23 Jan
As some of you reading this are probably aware, in 2003 Iwent to Toronto with a chronically depressed, bulimic morphine addict and didthe most sensible thing I could think of–I married her. I didn’t really wantto, but I also didn’t want to hurt her feelings, and since the whole gettingmarried thing was the reason we drove the 8 hours from Columbus in the firstplace, it seemed like I should hold up my end of the bargain. The closest thingI had to a bachelorette party was when, the day before we were to be married,my betrothed couldn’t bring herself to stop doing drugs get out of bed, and I spent the afternoon walking around town alone. I did somewindow shopping and treated myself to dinner. Then I went to Second City. The same improv company that brought us Dan Aykroyd and the lady who played Kevin’s mom in the Home Alone movies. We’dalready gone once, but I found out that every evening after the officialperformance, anyone who wanted to could stick around or come in off the streetand watch company rehearse for free. So I went and, while I waited for the showto let out, I had a couple drinks at the bar and flirted with the bar tender.This was the highlight of my time in Toronto. There were brief, hopeful momentswhen I thought maybe, just maybe my fiance would be too altered, tired, busy throwingup, or some combination of the three to go through with the ceremony. Well, letme tell you, love really does conquer all. That girl, who just 12 hours beforehadn’t been able to hold her own head up, sprang out of bed like a gymnast whenthe big day finally arrived. I’ve officially been married for 8 years, 4months, and 10 days, and I’ve regretted every one of them. Well guess what thenumber one requirement for getting a Canadian divorce is. If you guessed beinga Canadian resident, you win a block of 100% pure maple candy.      

Anyway, I’ve written about this epicmistake before, and it’s not the point of this post. The point of this post isthat a little over a week ago someone in the Canadian government tried to say that mysuper legitimate marriage was, in fact, invalid. Not because at least one of uswas high when the ceremony took place. Not because a big part of the reason Iagreed to get married was that I was afraid my girlfriend would kill herself ifI said no. No, they were saying my marriage was invalid because neither my wifenor I are Canadian citizens. The nerve.

We know now that the proclamation was a false alarm, but I nearly cried whenI first heard that I might be off the hook where my marriage was concerned. The thing is, I’m now in a relationship with someonewhom I’d very much like to marry. In this country. When doing so becomes legal.I don’t know much about the United States’ polygamy laws. I don’t know if, oncethey legalize gay marriage here, my big Canadian screw up would automaticallytransfer, making me also legally wed in this country. Another thing I don’tknow. Where my wife is or whether or not she’s still alive. What I’m saying is,I wish my friends up north would decide that my marriage is invalid, I’d bejust about the happiest discriminated against lesbian you’d ever meet. Andthat’s the sticky wicket.

The threatened invalidation of the estimated2,500 same-sex marriages that have been conducted over the last 9 years wouldbe great for me, but it would be kind of a kick to the balls for the other2,499 couples (okay, let’s be honest, what’s the divorce rate in this country?I’m not the only person who hasn’t seen their gay Canadian wife/husband in morethan 5 years). My point is, making sure that gays don’t get kicked in the ballsis something I care deeply about. Specifically, marriage equality for same-sexcouples is something I not only care deeply about, but that I also actively (byactive I mean once every few months) advocate for through my website, I Can’t GetMarried. And that’s why what I’ve already said, that I think it wouldbe awesome if all the foreign gay Canadian marriages were declared invalid, andwhat I’m getting ready to say make me a hypocrite, and an asshole. Here goes.As far as I’m concerned, the Canadian government would be right to say same-sex couples from other countries who were married in Canada aren’t really married after all. Those foreign gayCanadian marriages have never been valid in any legal way that matters. Not really. When I gotback to Ohio after getting hitched, I wasn’t any more married than I had beenbefore I left. I couldn’t file my taxes with my wife (full disclosure: she wason disability and food stamps, so she didn’t exactly have to file anyway). Noone would defer to me when it came to deciding what to do with my wife’s bodyin the likely event of her unfortunate demise. We couldn’t appear onThe Newlywed Game. And just as my marriage wasn’t recognizedhere, and I, therefore, couldn’t benefit from all the wonderful, U.S.government sanctioned benefits of marriage, neither was the Canadian governmenthaving to grant me any of the legal benefits that go along with being a weddedCanadian couple. I don’t know what these benefits are, but I assumepersonalized hockey jerseys are part of the deal.

Accordingto some of the reactions I’m reading about, non-Canadian gay folks are up inarms about this recent proclamation. They feel like if the Canadian government were to invalidate these marriages then said government would bediscriminating against them. Well let me clue you in on something. The Canadiangovernment wouldn’t be discriminating against you. YOUR UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ISDISCRIMINATING AGAINST YOU! Suppose I wasn’t already married in Canada and myformer co-worker and penis wielding friend Jason and I went to The Great WhiteNorth and got hitched. We’d come back to the states, show our marriage certificateto whomever it is within our government that you show these things to, andwham-bam-thank-you-ma’am we’d be married in the U.S. He dies? I can tell theundertaker to cremate him, take his cremains home, and flush him down thetoilet (per his wishes).

While I’m on my little rant, let mejust finish up my semi-defense of the Canadian government deciding to put my marriage out of its misery bypointing out that, in at least one very important way, we (when I say”we” I mean right minded people who think that two grown, consentingadults should be able to marry each other regardless what combination ofreproductive organs their collectively sporting) have been dealing with thisbrand of discrimination and disappointment at the exclusive hands of our owncountry for years. A Same-sex couple living in Omaha, Nebraska who traveled1900 miles to Vancouver to get married is in no better or worse shape legallythan a same-sex couple living in Alexandria, VA who drives 15 minutes intoWashington, DC and gets married there. Both imaginary couples go home, and haveno more rights than they did when they left. So, instead of getting pissed offat the Canadian government for saying out loud what has essentially been trueall along. Let’s get pissed off at our own government and demand that it repealDOMA. Let’s keep electing democratic presidents so that maybe someday theSupreme Court can be occupied by enough of those crazy, activist judges thatthe republicans like to complain about to finally declare it illegal to refusemarriage licenses to same-sex couples. Not just in Iowa or California, but inall 50 state. I’d like to enter into a marriage that matters, and I don’t thinkthat’s too much to ask.

2 Responses to “My Canadian Marriage Never Mattered”

  1. Anonymous January 23, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    Hey, Angela here. I just wanted to say that I agree with you. It might feel like a kick in the pants, but the truth is, people have been getting kicked the whole time. Sucks, though. And so you know, I hope you're off the hook, too. ❤

  2. Carrie January 23, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    Thanks for your comment, Ang. I'm sure we'll get there some day. I just hope it's when I'm still young enough to look good in whatever it is that gay girls who don't wear dresses wear to their weddings.

This reminds me of the time...

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