Meet My Fiancé

Most lesbian couples I know grapple with how to label their partner publicly. For instance, even before we were able to legally wed, but after we had a ceremony that looked a whole lot like a wedding, I decided to refer to my partner as my wife. I reasoned: conservatives could prevent me from actually being able to be married, but they couldn’t enlist me in my own subjugation by getting me to not refer to my relationship as a marriage. But, wife has two downsides. First, some would argue that wife versus spouse is old school. This one wasn’t stopping me because neither my wife nor I dislike being referred to as the other person’s wife. Second, and more problematic from my standpoint, this probably leads straight folks who aren’t up on the legal status of same sex unions—and believe me, there are a lot of straight folks that fit this bill—to assume that I have more legal rights than I actually have/had (depending on the state I am standing in). I certainly don’t want to encourage that misunderstanding. So, what is a lesbian in a committed relationship to do?

My, um, wife, had an idea: she suggested that all same sex couples living in states where they have no legal access to marriage begin referring to their partners as their fiancés. Her reasoning seems pretty good to me. Fiancé conveys the intent and desire to marry; in fact, it is the state of waiting to wed. Such an introduction also often invites the question of when a couple will wed, to which one could reply, “When I am legally allowed to.” So, I’m not sure I can break my habit and start saying fiancé instead of wife, especially after being allowed to marry in California (yes, we are part of that small cohort, although she goes from being my legal wife to my fiancé whenever we are in Arizona), but I think she has something here…

3 Comments

Filed under Daily Disruption

3 responses to “Meet My Fiancé

  1. Great idea! Makes prefect sense.

  2. From an organizing perspective, this is a really good idea, because it allows for a conversation to start from a place that is less threatening, yet it allows for an explanation that does not retreat from the concept of full equality. At a national strategy session years ago, some of us came up with the phrase “We believe in full equality for everyone–nothing more, but nothing less.” These struggles for equality never really end.

  3. Pingback: I Wouldn’t Vote on Your Marriage | Mobilizing Ideas

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