Schenectady County

Gay marriage: The unimaginable becomes reality

Twenty years ago, my high school friends and I sat up late one night talking about the future. Our f
Sandra Quigley, left, holds her daughter with author Kathleen Moore on the day Katie Beth was born. Right, Katie Beth with Kathleen at the Old Songs festival at Altamont Fairgrounds in June 2015.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Sandra Quigley, left, holds her daughter with author Kathleen Moore on the day Katie Beth was born. Right, Katie Beth with Kathleen at the Old Songs festival at Altamont Fairgrounds in June 2015.

Categories: News

Twenty years ago, my high school friends and I sat up late one night talking about the future. Our future. The biggest, most awesome future we could possibly imagine.

Our hopes:

Surely some states would make it possible for us to rent apartments without landlords kicking us out for being in a gay relationship.

Maybe they’d even strike down the sodomy laws that haunted us when we stayed in hotels in other states.

And if things went really well, we wouldn’t even have to worry about our jobs. Being out wouldn’t hurt us in job interviews . We wouldn’t have to be afraid and stay in the closet.

That was as far as we could imagine.

Marriage? All of us in that room — activists and dreamers and optimistic adolescents — were sure we’d given that up. We could find true love or we could get married. You couldn’t have both.

We weren’t the only ones who thought that. When I came out to my parents, my father sadly said he’d always imagined walking me down the aisle.

A legal gay marriage? It was literally unimaginable.

As adults, friends and I have discussed at length precisely the legal paperwork needed to create an expensive safety net that would approximate marriage. You know, one with medical directives and both names on the mortgage and wills and second-parent adoption.

Even when gay marriage was legalized in New York state, those documents still mattered.

To see the rest of my family, we drive to Missouri and Tennessee — two of the last holdouts in this fi ght against letting us create our family. Until Friday, our 7-month-old daughter wasn’t considered ours in those states.

Until Friday, my wife wasn’t considered my closest kin in those states.

To see my family, we had to accept the chance that there might be a horrific car crash, an accident on the lake, a fall. Any medical emergency could separate us. It wasn’t something I dwelled on, but it worried me enough to draw up legal paperwork regarding our daughter before our summer trip to Missouri, which is just a week away.

And now, suddenly, there is no such thing as gay marriage.

It’s just marriage. For all of us.

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