I try not to get political here. I try to keep my very strong political beliefs to myself in this space in an effort to not reject anyone’s opinions, but to me, this story isn’t about political ideology, this story is about my family and my belief that no matter what anyone may think, we are perfect together. I will also fight to no end for my family and for all people to have equal rights and equal treatment no matter their race, sexual orientation, gender identity, level of ability, religion or anything that makes them special, but in this story, that is beside the point.
Eleven years ago today my parents finally and legally tied the knot. They had already been together for 26 years and I was 15 years old at the time. Every single time gay marriage became legal in another state or another country I would beg them to fly to that location and get married. I wanted my parents to be able to be married like my other friends’ parents. I wanted my parents’ relationship to have the same status that straight couples could have without even thinking about it. I wanted them to have the rights that people received just by being born a certain way.
My Dad and Daddy always told me, “Honey, it doesn’t matter. A piece of paper does not make us a family.” No, they are right, a piece of paper doesn’t get to decide whether someone is a family or not, but for teenager Chelsea it meant everything. It meant not having to explain where my mother was when we left the country or government officials telling us we weren’t a family because my parents weren’t married. It meant my parents having the hundreds of rights that you are afforded by a marriage that you aren’t by a civil union. I just wanted them to be equal and I couldn’t understand why people didn’t agree with that. I couldn’t fathom why my parents marrying each other had anything to do with anyone else. So, finally, when it became legal for a window of about 6 weeks before Prop 8 (banning same-sex marriage in the state of California) passed, I said they didn’t have an excuse any longer.
“If you want equal rights, you have to exercise them,” I told my parents. And so they did. On October 11th, 2008, which amazingly also coincides with National Coming Out Day, my parents married each other legally. They both told me it felt different the next day. Something about standing up in front of your friends and family and declaring their love, something about legally being able to say that you’re married (even though they had, had other ceremonies). Not having to check a box on a form that says “single” just because they couldn’t wed the person of their choosing. My parents asked me to give a speech at their wedding since their being married was so important to me. So, just as a reminder of how important and inspirational their love is to me and in honor of their legal wedding anniversary, here is my speech that I gave for my two dads on their wedding day.
My friends, I say this to every one of you reading this and even those who aren’t. Please know how deeply you are loved by people you don’t even know. Please know you are hugged and blessed to be who you are just the way you are at this moment. You are a blessing. You are beautiful. Please don’t change because other people are telling you that what you are isn’t the way you should be. Please know there is a community out there waiting for you, ready to welcome you with open arms. Keep searching until you find your people. We are here to hold you up. You are special and important and wonderful. And if you need someone to talk to, please reach out. I am here. My dads are here. Domi is here too and we all want to support you.
Have a wonderful weekend my friends and happy anniversary Dad and Daddy!!! You deserved to be celebrated! Xoxoxo