Must We Get Married?

By Tony Guadagnino
© 2015 Diversity Rules Magazine and Tony Guadagnino.  All rights reserved.

Tony_GTony Guadagnino is a marketing consultant.  Located in New Jersey, his clients are based across the country, focusing on social media to build their presence on the internet.  He studied creative writing in college and is currently working his first novel on the subject of bullying.  He lives with his partner Mark.

The legalization of gay marriage is a monumental decision that states in the United States have slowly been adopting, changing the definition of marriage from “a man and a woman” to “two people of the same or opposite sex.”  We currently have thirty-seven states that have validated gay marriage (only thirteen more to go).  I am very proud to be a gay man and see this change during the early years of the 21st century.

However, while gay marriage has become more accepted, there also comes an annoying subordinate that follows.  Friends of gay people in committed relationships have adopted the “yenta” role to ask the dreaded question: when are you getting married?

My partner and I will be celebrating our ninth anniversary in September, and while we are physically and emotionally committed to one another, does that mean we must get married?  There was a time when  two gay men made a commitment to each other by moving into one home and sharing their lives together.   Mark and I live together, and important decisions that affect our lives are made between us.  Our commitment is as strong as every other couple; do we really need a piece of paper and a piece of jewelry to demonstrate it to the world?

Both of us understand the legal aspects of marriage, and thanks to a lawyer friend of mine, we filed the necessary papers years ago to protect each other.  Neither of us wishes to have children (except furry ones).  So do we HAVE to get married?

And I will repeat that I am not against same-sex marriage.  I think it is wonderful for anyone who wants to express their commitment through marriage.  I have attended several gay weddings since it was passed in NJ in 2013.  But, should we be pressured by a third-party to do it?

Years ago, women were encouraged by their families to find a man and get married right out of high school.  Those who were not married by the time they turned twenty-one were classified as “old maids” and faced the possibility of never finding that special one in their life.  Over time, as women became self-sufficient and found higher job positions than teacher, secretary, librarian, or waitress, the mindset of women being “washed up” had diminished.  Women put career over marriage, and society have accepted this universal decision.

Today, friends of gay couples are now becoming the new “parents” by pressuring them into marriage.  While the definition of marriage has changed, the huge commitment for the union has not.  It is still a huge decision to make, and not a choice people should make just to “follow the crowd.”  There are many straight couples who cohabitate without the bond of marriage.  Are gay couples not allowed to do it too?

People need to stop coercing every gay couple in America to get married.  There may be a day when I state that Mark and I are married, but I can truthfully say that it won’t be tomorrow.  Allow each couple to follow their own path in their relationship. If marriage is in their plan, it will happen.  In the meantime, allow them to be happy with each other.


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2 thoughts on “Must We Get Married?”

  1. Thanks for writing this, Tony. I've been thinking about this for a while. I dare say the pressure is even worse if you are single. Not only "when are you going to settle down" but the implication that something is wrong with you. Don't I deserve equal respect and rights even if I remain single? When I moved to New York years ago, I never had a dream of getting married. Work was always first, and it remains so. Although companionship would be nice as I get older, it shouldn't be a requirement, and I am not "less than" for remaining single.

  2. Kevin, you deserve every respect as someone who is either married or in a committed relationship. As my blog says at the end, "everyone should to follow their own path." And if you are single and happy … that's all that matters. Nobody's path is the same as anyone else.

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