California Dreaming.

Today’s guest post comes from Lauren in Brooklyn, NY. Lauren
and her partner Donna were plaintiffs (along with 4 other couples)
in the New York City marriage case about 4 years ago. Although they
won on the city level, the mayor appealed the decision and the
couples ultimately lost their case in New York’s highest court.
Lauren and Donna have two children, ages 4 and 8.

There was great joy here in New York last week when equal marriage
was legalized in California, and our governor, David Paterson,
followed suit by directing state agencies to follow the law and
recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Finally — an
opportunity to have our relationships honored AND legalized in our
own home state!

The Family Equality Council put out a call to New York couples,
asking how many of us actually would go to California (or Canada,
or Spain, or any one of those other more enlightened places) to
marry. I have to say I was tempted to write back and say, We will!
My partner Donna and I have been together for 10 years and have 2
sons, ages 8 and 4. It would mean a tremendous amount to our family
on so many levels to finally be guaranteed the more than 1300
rights that go along with being legally married in New York

And yet… tempting as it would be to hop the next flight to San
Francisco and head down to City Hall, we’re not going. Donna and I
(along with four other couples) were plaintiffs in the original
marriage case in New York City. While we won at the city level,
that decision was appealed, and we ultimately lost our battle in
the state’s highest court. That loss was incredibly painful in a
deeply personal way, and we feel strongly that we need to continue
the fight and work toward full marriage equality here in New York.
Getting married in California would serve its purpose, but it would
still feel like second-class status. We don’t want to have to leave
town to get married; we want to do it right here, in the city we
call home.

This is not to denigrate Governor Paterson’s directive. On the
contrary, we are thrilled that he has come forward in support of
same-sex marriage, and feel that this is a crucial step toward
achieving full marriage equality in New York. Neither would we ever
judge any couple who did decide to marry out of state in order to
have their rights honored here at home. As a longterm couple and
especially as parents we fully understand the desire to do that and
would support the decision of any couple to take that step. It’s
just that, for us at least, it feels important to hold out for true
marriage equality here at home.