Tamára Lunardo

Author & Editor

Wednesday

14

May 2014

32

COMMENTS

Am I Qualified to Marry?

Written by , Posted in faith, life

“Idaho’s Marriage Laws deny same-sex couples the economic, practical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of marriage, relegating each couple to a stigmatized, second-class status. Plaintiffs suffer these injuries not because they are unqualified to marry, start a family, or grow old together, but because of who they are and whom they love.” — U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale

When I read this, my first thought was that it was right on in capturing why anti-marriage laws are so injurious and unjust. But what quickly jumped out at me next was the phrase “unqualified to marry.” It made me wonder what qualifies people for marriage.

I still sometimes grieve the loss of my marriage, and the thought has stalked me for years– though never with the words “Am I qualified?” til now– Should we have gotten married in the first place? I can’t answer that in one blog post; I may not answer it in one lifetime.

But I’m wondering, was I qualified to marry? At nineteen, and pregnant, and in college, and not fully understanding or acknowledging my own sexuality, was I qualified to marry? I was of legal age and I was a woman marrying a man, so my church and home state said yes. But was I? Really?

And here I am now: Thirty-four and raising a family, well employed, and finally living out my own heart. Am I qualified to marry? I’m divorced, so the Bible says no; I’m in love with a woman, so my home state says no. But am I? Really?

That one I can answer in a blog post, and I’m grateful it didn’t take me a lifetime. I am qualified to marry because of the person I love.

I am committed to living my life in a way that makes Casey’s better: growing together in our individual, entwined relationships with God; sharing our hardest cries and our hardest laughter; raising together the children we love fiercely; turning my eyes, thoughts, and heart away from anything that might threaten to capture what belongs only to her; living with her every day in an intimacy that only physical death could separate.

I know the answer for me. What do you think qualifies people for marriage?

  • http://www.aweirdthing.wordpress.com Neil Chappell

    A brilliant blog. Thought provoking. Challenging. Heartbreaking. Questioning. Moving. Just plain and simple good. God bless you on your journey.

    • TamaraOutLoud

      Thank you, Neil. God has been blessing me for sure. So grateful.

  • http://www.gatebeautiful.ca bekka

    What a loaded word, “qualify”. As I was reading this, I couldn’t help but think of other marriages between people who some might think don’t qualify, aren’t eligible. Like people with low IQ or handicaps. Inter-racial couples. What a way to segregate people. And it’s all a figment of someone’s imagination, really, that something about a person that is not within their control to change could make them less equal than someone else.

    • TamaraOutLoud

      It’s SO loaded– with connotations of “allowed” and “worthy.” I think the way we see that– is someone inherently worthy of marriage, or must he/she be allowed it from an arbiter of worth?– makes all the difference in how we think and act about marriage equality.

  • Casey

    Over the years I have thought about this frequently. Not so much as “am I qualified?” but what disqualifies me? Does being a woman disqualify me? Does you being a woman disqualify us? But why? Our chromosomes keep us apart? It never made any sense to me. I’ve been from angry to sad to confused and back again about it all. I’m still not sure why loving you disqualifies us.
    I do know I’m damn proud of this post. And we look really cute in our pic. I think we should get a letter in the mail saying we are pre-qualified.

    • TamaraOutLoud

      Thank you for letting me introduce you to my readers. Now that you’re here, I can really write a good story. xo

  • Tricia

    As a two-time, barely-outta-the-closet divorcee, I’ve wrestled with this question–even more so lately as I dream about one day marrying the most amazing woman I’ve ever known. It would be easy for me to dismiss those marriages since they were to men, and I’ve since fallen in love with a woman. But as you know, marriage is based on more than just sexual orientation.

    I’ve wondered how “qualified” I am to be married again…even if I’m finally being true to myself. Does finally admitting that I’m gay finally qualify me to be a wife? The obvious answer is no, but the reason for the answer is more complicated. My previous marriages had more issues that my suppressed sexuality. I didn’t choose to be gay, but I certainly chose to marry–and divorce.

    So the bigger question is, “What qualifies me for marriage now?” I can’t go back and wouldn’t even if I had the chance. Truthfully, I was selfish, impatient, and stubborn. And I’ve found what I think is the answer to the question–love. But not just any love. A love that makes me want to be the best version of me, not to make her happy, but to be happy with myself. A love that is sacrificial without sacrificing my identity. A love that holds no grudge and forgives before she asks. A love that never leaves me wondering if she loves me, too.

    It would seem, then, that I’d have to borrow your answer…”I am qualified to marry because of the person I love.”

    Thanks for posting this, Tamara. And I LOVE this picture–as far as I’m concerned it qualifies you!

    • TamaraOutLoud

      Thank you for opening up about something so deeply personal. I’m struck by what you said about choice. We don’t choose how we feel, but we choose what we do about it. I think the “qualification” is rooted right there.

      • Tricia

        Yes! It’s funny you mentioned that qualification is rooted in choice. I was trying to articulate it, but couldn’t. Thanks for finishing my thought! 🙂

  • http://intelligentanderuditejew.blogspot.co.uk/ Hannah

    This is a lovely photo, great to see a couple so much in luvvvvvvvvvvv! (:

    • TamaraOutLoud

      Thank you! I love this picture. It was taken the day Casey was baptized and we joined a church together– really special day for us. 🙂

      • http://intelligentanderuditejew.blogspot.co.uk/ Hannah

        Hi Tamara

        I’m glad that Casey is also a Christian & your Church seems very accepting of openly gay people. For myself, I find all this opening up stuff a hard one, not really into ‘gushing’… even if it is under relatively anon conditions. But I I’ve been openly gay for a couple of years, but always single; last year, I met someone who is of my faith & we have fallen in love, she is the only one I’ve ever been ‘close’ with, but the relationship is secret (one other person knows about the relationship, but he my oldest friend). I am reluctant to share, because of my worry over what family and friends will say , because, whilst they know I am gay, they don’t know I’ve got a girlfriend. But then, I’ve only got one life & don’t want to die on my own, because I do think we all need an intimate companion & permanent celibacy isn’t a religious virtue that can be forced onto someone…so having thought about this some more, I’m going to tell my family & friends.

        • TamaraOutLoud

          I’m so happy you’re feeling bold enough to tell the people you care about about this important relationship. However they receive it, you and she will be living in the freedom of truth– and that is a beautiful place to be in.

          • http://intelligentanderuditejew.blogspot.co.uk/ Hannah

            Hi Tamara,
            They’ve been very supportive 🙂 – hopefully that’s the smile the right way round this time!-, being honest can be painful, but it is living in freedom to be true to others and yourself. It is a beautiful place to be in. It is a feeling of Shalom, peace and wholeness. Also,reading posts like this help, knowing that there are other communities out there that have similar thoughts, a desire to be faithful to faith, yourself & others. Keep blogging !

          • Shmu’el

            Hey Tamara, we received it well. Channah’s partner, Sarah, is well nice & it is so good to see my younger sister so HAPPY, really happy, now she can be open about her relationship. And that is what matters. Being free to be true. Thanks for being a little chink of light in this world.

            Sam or Shoom

  • http://intelligentanderuditejew.blogspot.co.uk/ Hannah

    Article – what do you think qualifies people to be married ?

    My initial reaction was that by using the world “qualified” it was almost implying you have to pass a test/exam/interview to get that piece of paper that says you are a married couple.On reflection, I can see the wider point being made here e.g. I’d like to think I’m qualified to talk about the difference between nuclear fission & fusion, Lagrange points, the big bang & various crazy theoretical crap [I love it really] because I’ve got qualifications regarding them. BUT imagine if I’d have been preventing from getting these qualifications because I was a woman or a Jew or both. I wouldn’t be ‘qualified’, not because of any merit on my part but because I couldn’t get qualified, because of who & what I am (I’m an identical twin & my sister is straight, so I don’t believe sexual orientation is something not given, as it were) . This is the same with gay marriage. We cannot be given a chance to be qualified, if we cannot even enter the exam hall and give marriage a go…. just like straight couples ! Then there is dealing with the rather ridiculous ‘slippery slope’ argument, that wherever gay marriage is allowed, we’ll be marrying our brothers, lamposts & houses next or whatever shit people come out with.

    • TamaraOutLoud

      Yes! It’s the being held back from any opportunity. Who knows, maybe I as a person am not qualified for marriage because I’m a selfish asshole. But don’t let the fact that I’m gay be what prevents me from even being considered.

      • http://intelligentanderuditejew.blogspot.co.uk/ Hannah

        Hope they change the law so that the two of you (& anyone else who wishes to) can get married in the US. And you don’t come across as a selfish asshole.

  • http://www.registeredrunaway.com/ Benjamin Moberg

    Oh my heart, 🙂 I love this Tamara. Thank you.

    • TamaraOutLoud

      Thank you, Ben!

  • Joy

    What qualifies someone to be married? When they are willing to put someone else’s interests ahead of their own.

    • TamaraOutLoud

      I think that sums up so much of it, yes.

  • Jo Malone

    That gorgeous pic pre-qualifies for sure 🙂

    My partner and I have started talking about getting married, which is a totally weird concept for me. I grew up knowing I couldn’t, and it was never part of my thinking when in a relationship, like “One day I’m going to marry this woman” – now that I can, it’s a whole new thing. That idea still takes getting used to!

    I look forward to seeing your wedding photos!!

    • TamaraOutLoud

      Aw, thanks, Jo! And how exciting for you! You may not know this, but you’ve been a quiet encouragement to me for years. I’ve seen you be a gay, Christian woman, and your life, glimpsed through internet comments, has been a little light to me. Thank you.

      I think that you hit on one of the biggest things that kept me away from the truth for so long– “I grew up knowing I couldn’t.” There’s too much in that thought to get into in the comments, but I think the essence of it is that when we lack the framework for possibility, we get trapped in the smallness of what we know.

      • Jo Malone

        There’s a whole blog (or book) right there in the “knowing I couldn’t” phrase… I kept it short.

        ‘The framework for possibility’ forever expands when someone unlocks a door (that was locked for seemingly incomprehensible reasons), and says, “See? There’s more joy out there!” – it gladdens my heart to hear how – state by state – that joy continues to spread across the USofA.

        And thank you for your kind words “Tomorrow with a Northern Irish accent” 🙂

  • http://havemyword.wordpress.com Shae Bloem

    Like! Like! Like! There is so much I want to write, I feel like you’d need several days to read it all. I think of something Anne Hathaway said: “There are people who’ve said that I’m being brave for being openly supportive of gay marriage, gay adoption… With all due respect, I humbly dissent. I am not being brave, I’m a decent human being… Love is a human experience, not a political statement.” And I feel this applies on so many levels here. As if you have to meet certain requirements to marry. If marriage is supposed to be about love, do you have to meet certain requirements to love? I recently came out, and to say that people’s responses have been unpleasant, is an understatement. As if by loving another woman (who, for the record, is gorgeous, intelligent, funny, Christ-like and just all round incredible) suddenly disqualifies me as a human, takes away my salvation and means that I live a life making others feel ashamed. One day I hope I will be brave enough to write a post like this. You’re incredibly strong. Keep going, in grace.

    • TamaraOutLoud

      Oh, Shae, I’m so happy for you that you’ve come out! I’m sorry people’s responses have been hurtful. You did the right thing anyway. Keep staying in truth; keep going in freedom. Love to you on the journey.

      • http://havemyword.wordpress.com Shae Bloem

        I hope you’ll find the voice to write more about this… or have others write… I know in being this vulnerable you have made it possible for others to feel safe. I speak for myself here in saying I have a myriad of questions that are in no way easily addressable. Peace as you grow and journey together – married or not (yet).

    • http://intelligentanderuditejew.blogspot.co.uk/ Hannah

      I’m sorry you’ve been hurt. It’s tough, I know, there are some people out there with the problem, not you. Hope the road ahead will be better.

  • Deborah Bryan

    I know my answer is simplistic, but exhausted in the early weeks of caring for an infant . . . i really don’t see why “loving commitment” shouldn’t be enough. It’s everything.

  • Russel Ray Photos

    Being in love, and capable of making legal decisions as adults, qualifies one for marriage!

  • Shmu’el

    “I am qualified to marry because of the person I love.”
    So be it; truly

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