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377 S. Harrison Street, 12D
East Orange, NJ 07018
Phone: 973-395-1068 h
Married February 2, 1974
Louie Crew's Natter [BLOG]
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How is a 'union' to be determined in the absence of marriage or another 'recognized ceremony'?
> From: *********** > Sent: Sunday, June 15, 2008 3:38 AM > To: Louie Crew > Subject: RE: Happy Anniversary! > > How very thoughtful, Louie; thank you, and the same to you and Ernest. > I know you've been together for a very long time, but, if I may ask, are > you "married" or domestic partners? Are California and Massachusetts > the only states that allow same-sex marriage now? I've lost track. I > must admit, as a straight L5 who wants to over-turn B033, it's still not > perfectly clear to me how a "union" is determined to be > "committed/perfected," in the absence of marriage or another "recognized > ceremony." I'd truly appreciate enlightenment on this subject. Many > thanks in advance. Thanks for asking. Ernest and I used the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (the only one available on 2/2/1974). Only 3 were present: ourselves and the Holy Spirit. There was nothing imaginary or tentative about the vows that we took. We understand that marriage is always something that the couple do themselves; the church may bless or not bless as it chooses. The state may license or not license as it chooses. Even for heterosexuals, both the church and the state recognize that marriage is null (that is, not a marriage) if the couple themselves have not really bonded. In 1999, after 25 years together, Ernest renewed our vows in the presence of many gathered in our parish, Grace in Newark. We were quite clear that this was not a new commitment, but the restatement of the original one. It is the church, not we, who are living in sin in our marriage. Probably we will renew our vows again in February, to be our 35th. Maybe NJ by then will allow marriage, in which case will will have a civil service for that and take whatever leavings our diocese (one of the more generous and supportive) will throw towards lgbts. We registered our domestic partnership when that became available in 2006: we did so at the local city hall in East Orange, so that we have the much increased legal protections afforded us. (For example, otherwise, whoever who survived the other would have to pay full inheritance on the other's half of our home and all other properties! What bunch of stingy thieves heterosexualists are! Even if NJ marries us, the US will deny spousal social security benefits, tax status......). We have not yet availed ourselves of the new law for civil union here, since full marriage seems so near in this state. My friend Kevin Jones told me: "I asked Aaron Henry, long-time Mississippi civil rights activist, whether the church had been a light during the struggle for justice... `The church a light?' he said, and paused for a long beat to fix me with a stare from his bulging, famously jaundiced eyes and then answered: `Yeah, a tail light.' I do not understand marriage as something two people have to be good enough to deserve. That would leave out most of the human race. I understand marriage to be a commitment before God and the community that is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. I am enormously grateful to God who, when the people say no, exercises God's power to have the very stones cry out "Yes!" Things are topsy turvy indeed when one seems sassy, even revolutionary -- as I admit to seeming -- merely to stand on God's promises to love the whole world. I hope some of this is helpful. Joy to you and to all whom you love. Louie Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., 12d, East Orange, NJ 07018. 973-395-1068 http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew P.S. See an account of our marriage at http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/2grooms.html and and account of our 25th anniversary at http://rci.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/joyanyway/joy16.html
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