Local view: Couple hopes Minnesota lawmakers recognize their right to marryWe have loved each other for a long time. As two women, we keep trying to have a marriage that is recognized so we can get on with the banal but essential business of caring for our three children, our home and our community.
By: Megan and Sarah Perry-Spears, for the News Tribune
We have loved each other for a long time. As two women, we keep trying to have a marriage that is recognized so we can get on with the banal but essential business of caring for our three children, our home and our community.
We met at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., one of us from North Dakota and the other a northern Minnesotan. We found that together we were better people. We fell in love.
The first time we got married was in 1997 in Pennsylvania. We were surrounded by more than 100 friends and family and received the full blessing of our faith community. Our marriage vows included “a desire that understanding, justice and hope will come from this union.” Our ceremony was not (and is not) recognized by the state of Pennsylvania.
After five years of marriage and a move to Massachusetts, we registered for domestic partnership. We were given a white, wallet-sized card declaring our partnership. This card meant nothing to any formal government or organization, but to us, at the time, it was as legal as we could get for our commitment to each other: not a real marriage, more of a kinda-sorta thing.
The second time we got married was in 2004 in Massachusetts, not long after Massachusetts became the first state in the U.S. to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Taking a break from graduate school at Harvard (one of us at the school of education and the other at the divinity school), we held our 5-month-old son between us while being married by the justice of the peace.
Our move back to Minnesota was precipitated by a dying parent and the desire to spend time with him and to help with his care. In 2006, we arrived in Duluth with a 2-year-old who wasn’t sure we really meant it when we said his toys would move with him and not be left behind. Since then our son has been joined by boy-girl twins and a dog that chews everything.
Along the way we have had to do things our friends, family and acquaintances are surprised to learn about. These have included hiring a lawyer (not a cheap endeavor) to draft legal paperwork so we can visit one another in the hospital and to protect our entwined finances. The most difficult one for us, however, was hiring a lawyer so one us of (the non-birth mom) could adopt her own children. This process can involve social workers, judges, lawyers and lots of paperwork. While the non-birth mom is grateful for the opportunity to adopt her children (friends across the way in Superior cannot do this with their children), the experience was frustrating. We bristled at the idea that a complete stranger in full judge’s robes sitting on high in the front of a courtroom needed to hear evidence about our worthiness as parents.
We hope the Minnesota Legislature votes to recognize our right to get married in Minnesota. We have been committed to this marriage for a long time: year 16 and counting this summer.
So for the sake of our children, our family and our marriage, please support marriage equality.
Megan and Sarah Perry-Spears live in Duluth with their children, Joe, 9; Liam, 4; and Willa, 4.