A shorter blog post and the last one that will touch upon my recent trip to Prague. This one is more of a spin-off from the trip, as you might guess from the title.
In the Old Town of Prague this weekend I saw a lesbian couple kissing passionately in the doorway of a shop selling expensive Bohemian glassware to tourists. Their cuddling didn’t seem to raise any eyebrows, at least no one stopped to gawk or stare at them. Perhaps they didn’t even notice. There was just my own occasional glances in their direction, watching them laugh and kiss.
I looked because I was both encouraged by their open display of affection, I had read in a tourist guide that open affection between people of the same sex might attract some unwanted attention in Prague. But I also looked because I felt a little jealous of the happiness they obviously shared. It was just them, standing in the shade on a busy street corner in the busiest part of town.
It did send my thoughts in directions I had not anticipated. Not just that it might hopefully be me openly kissing outside a tourist shop some day, with a beloved on my own next to me, but I also began to look at things in a different way.
Prague’s tourist heavy areas are dominated by shops selling certain items; souvenirs, glassware, enameled goods and jewelry. And suddenly I felt myself particularly taken by the garnet rings that many jewelry stores had on proud display in their shop windows.
The thoughts that came into my head wasn’t only that these rings, with their dark red stones, set in silver or white gold were very beautiful, but what also came into my mind was the idea, the suggestion that one day I might be putting a ring just like that on someone’s finger, officially making them my wife.
And after that wave of giddiness and feeling lightheaded had passed it occurred to me how lucky I was that I could even contemplate such an action, for I live in a country where I really could get married to another woman and have that marriage be recognized in every shape and form by my government. Heck, if I find one of the (many) LGBT friendly church officials I could even have a wedding in a church, with all the bells and whistles.
And that this is not the case in every country in the world fills me with a profound sorrow. What’s even worse is that some countries where the state does _not_ recognize a same-sex marriage are so called civilized western nations. This is something that has torn couples apart, forced spouses to become illegal aliens or in some cases it has meant that the couple have had to move to a country where their marriage is judged the same as any other marriage performed by a state or church official.
That’s simply not right. Everyone should be able to look at pretty rings in a shop window and imagine themselves presenting that ring to their beloved as an engagement or a wedding band. It’s such a small, silly thing, but it perfectly exemplifies how silly the debate about same-sex marriage is from the opponent side.
We’re not out to ruin your marriages or make a mockery of your proud institution, we just want to be able to do and experience the same things as any straight couple without having to stop ourselves mid-thought and wonder if there’s any point in dreaming these kinds of dreams, imagining these kinds of scenarios. In fact, I’m sure that in many of those countries where marriage isn’t even on the table people just don’t dream at all.
A marriage is a symbol more than anything else, a way to show the world that this is the man or woman I want to spend the rest of my life with, the one I want to grow old and grey and in whose arms I hope to pass away in. And heck, if it doesn’t work out, just like for countless straight couples, we also get to go through the fun of a divorce. Why shouldn’t everyone, both gay and straight be able to have that?
And this is not even touching the part where a marriage is also a legal bond that gives the spouse a certain security if the other suddenly passes away. In what way would it hurt the idea of marriage that all couples, between two consenting individuals should e able to enjoy that bit of safety?
I know many others have written on this subject, some who already are married to their special someone, at least in their hearts, if not in the eyes of the country they were born in, but I felt like I had to share my own feelings on the subject after my emotional experience lately.
All I can do is hope that the forward momentum seen in some countries, including the US is a sign that things are changing for the better. That perhaps one day every couple, every person who has found someone they love so much they want to show it off in some way, whether that just means kissing on a busy tourist street corner without fear or putting a pretty wedding band on each others fingers…
Well,that would be the kind of world I’d be proud to live in.