Picture For A Thousand Voices

American Dream

Zia: Registered as domestic partners first in San Francisco in 1993 shortly after I moved here to be with Leah. We were excited to register as Domestic Partners. Anti-climactic. Went to window where they issue dog licenses. Walked away with little certificate like kid gets for perfect attendance. Framed it, but did not feel like much. Did not send out notices to friends, no party.

We celebrated after we had our marriage license and were married. Then we started to talk about celebration. Wanted to have big wedding reception like every other couple would have.

Picked August 20 as date. Sent invitations to 200+ people. About 150 came. Our loving wonderful supportive families came from all over, form Leah’s Hawaii to my NY/NJ. Came to our marriage, our wedding party, ceremony. Leah’s dad was 86. Retired judge in state of Hawaii. He came, brought judge’s robes. Was going to officiate with affirmation ceremony at wedding banquet.

Our marriage was invalidated a week before our wedding reception. We felt sad. We grieved. Marriage that had brought us so much joy was invalidated. Our relationship was invalidated. We felt pretty awful.

We got married in June 2008 as soon as opportunity became available.

Getting married has changed so many multitudes of ways, tangible and intangible. Still discovering ways.

With my Chinese-born grandmother, she always said Leah must be a good friend because she has been around for seventeen years at all of this family stuff. When we got married, Grandma got it. She said, “oh, this is your wife.”

Our families relate to each other differently. Our families are in-laws to each other now. After we got married, Leah’s father would stop by my brother’s house (in Hawaii) and give him fruit from yard. Never did that for 15 years before we got married.

Leah’s father died in hospice about two months ago. Her father explained to nurses that Leah is my daughter and this is my favorite daughter in law. Leah said “he said daughter in law.” I said, “He said favorite.”

“You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man’s freedom. You can only be free if I am free.”

Clarence Darrow