How To Have A Right-On Civil Union

“Purple Gays, all in my brain! Lately, things, they don’t seem the same!” — Jimi Hendrix

On September 30, I entered into a civil union with Kate, my partner of nine years and mother of our four year-old daughter Mabel. We were able to do this not because we love eachother or because we have a demonstrated commitment to one another, but because we were lucky: lucky to live in one of a handful of states that allows some vestige of equality in marriage rights. Not everyone is as lucky as we are. It is my hope that one day, everyone will have the option to do as we did, and celebrate their respective partnerships in a Right-On Civil Union. The following is a list of suggestions compiled from our own Right-On Civil Union (plus money-saving Hard Times Bonus Tips!).  I humbly present the following list to those of you who may wish to follow in our footsteps and/or learn from our mistakes.

 Pick the right partner. The search for Mrs. Hellraisin made David O. Selznik’s search for Scarlett O’Hara look as effortless as ordering from the McDonald’s Value Menu. Not just any woman has the capacity to endure my super-caffeinated marathon tirades, or the unassailable personal dignity to be seen in public with me on Marvin Gaye Crochet Hat Tribute Day, or the iron-clad sense of restraint to resist the urge to force-feed me my own cell phone after I’ve left it in the refrigerator for the third time. It took me two decades and almost a dozen candidates to find my beloved Katherine. Thanks to her, I’ve done things I’ve never considered myself capable of– great things: things like the parenting our daughter, the writing this blog, and the wearing of khaki for profit. She’s saved my life, every day, in ways both large and small, and has made it worth living for nine years. I still cannot believe my luck.

 If you think your partner of nine years and mother of your child is going to let you show up at your civil union, wearing a tux/purple granny glasses/inverted crucifix a la Axl Rose in the “November Rain” video, think again.

“$#@%!”–Axl Rose

 Hard Times Bonus Tip #1: There ain’t no shame in wedding shoe shopping at the Payless Shoe Source. There ain’t no sexy there, either. Just so’s ya know.

 Don’t forget to bring your ID to the courthouse. The legal system suffers from trust issues of pandemic proportions. Why anyone in their right minds would want to fake an identity funk on me and Kate on the occasion of our civil union is beyond me, but it is rather flattering to think someone would be insane enough to want to trade places with us.

 Make sure your mom’s ringer is turned up good and loud so she doesn’t miss the call when you need her to break into your house to get your ID while you’re en route to the courthouse.

 That’s right, I said “courthouse.” We got civil unionized in the same place that people get sentenced to jail. Outlandas De Amor no more! Love justice is served! What a courthouse ceremony lacks in romance, it more than makes up in police presence. So butch! If I had my druthers, our ceremony would have been attended by a contingent of lady cops, yelling “This is a love bust!” and issuing spread-eagle pat-downs to the entire wedding party, but nobody wants that. Because nobody’s awesome like me.

 Having the same first name as your fiancé is a great idea. That way your idiot judge won’t mess up your names THREE TIMES like he did when he performed our ceremony. Had I known this was going to happen, I would have made us matching “Hello, My Name Is Shaniqua!” nametags. Shaniqua loves Shaniqua. True Love Forever.

 An adorable child, dressed to the nines, is a classic element of any commitment ceremony. Carrying baskets of flowers, bearing rings, or (as was the case with own adorable child) simply glaring a thousand flaming thumbtacks at the idiot judge, a child’s contributions are often the most cherished memories of any Big Day.

It would probably be a good idea to remember to trim your nails, though.

 If you’re looking to have a civil union, you are a non-traditional couple. Why would you settle for traditional rings? I say keep the subversive good times a-rolling with a handmade beauty from an independent artisan! Stick it to the diamond industry! I’m not talking about “blood diamonds” or third-world government corruption. I’m talking about the unmitigated evil/BS consumer culture in which love is supposedly measured by the size of an outrageously-priced shiny rock. And who says which shiny rock is the best expression of love, anyway? Diamonds are not the only shiny rock, you know! Diamonds are not forever, if you ask me. Diamonds are for fuck you. The joke of the diamond industry is only slightly less hilarious than the price of gold. So get your gay ass to Etsy, and be free. (Hard Times Bonus Tip #2)

 Have a food photographer take your wedding pictures. You will look yummy!

 Hard Times Bonus Tip #3: Make your own cake toppers! My beloved Kate is not only beautiful, intelligent, and a consummate badass, she is also crafty as hell. She made this adorable duo

…so I guess you could say they look just like us!

with Sculpy and her own innate brilliance. What’s especially nice about our tiny effigies is how they make us look tall, thin, and elegant in comparison. Nobody has ever accused us of being any of those things before, so that was a treat.

 Last, but not least, the key to having a Right-On Civil Union is to live in a state in which you CAN have a Right-On Civil Union, or better yet, an actual marriage. How do you do that? Moving to a state that recognizes civil unions or gay marriage is one answer, but it’s not the solution. I would suggest you look up your local gay rights organization and get involved. Pound that pavement, stuff those envelopes, ride that bus, knock on those doors. Or email your congressman; call his office. Or speak out, Gaytheist style, with a smartass blog of your own. Anything worth having is worth fighting for, or shooting your mouth off for, at the very least. Your life, your love, and your family is worth it to me, let it be worth it to you. Let us burn the mother down, shall we?

Hard Times Tip #4: If someone else is buying, select the biggest beer possible. Cheers!

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7 Responses to “How To Have A Right-On Civil Union”

  1. linz Says:

    Read this first thing in the morning…great start to my day!

  2. lesley Says:

    I was wondering why you weren’t wearing a “tux/purple granny glasses/inverted crucifix a la Axl Rose in the November Rain”. Thanks for explaining.

  3. naomidelatorre Says:

    This is all awesome. And definitely the most entertaining wedding story I’ve ever read. I love the way you talk about Kate and Mabel with so much love. I wish I could meet you guys in person some day.

    • Hellraisin Says:

      Well, I could send you the cake toppers. We’re very much like the cake toppers, only we don’t have dried up icing crusted up on our asses.

  4. JW Moxie Says:

    I would very much like to have a Right-On civil union now. Maybe my husband will be okay with it.

    (belated) Congratulations to you. I ditto everything Naomi already said.

  5. Seeking Elevation Says:

    Thanks for dropping by my blog today. Congrats on the hookup! That child of yours is adorbs, and I’m a huge fan of yours already–given your salient advice regarding beer size and its relation to the purchaser.

    • Hellraisin Says:

      Also: how much one should appreciate a kind word should be proportionate to one’s admiration of the giver of said kind word. So you made my day.

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