As the gay and lesbian wedding show unfolded last weekend, I found the newspaper photos of dykes checking out the white wedding dresses and the sweet gay boys cooing over the flowers for their guaranteed-to-cost-a bundle weddings completely cringe-worthy. By the time queer weddings have been milked for their commercial value, no one will remember there was ever such a thing as gay liberation. Which is one of the reasons why my partner and I are not choosing our maid of honour quite yet. But the Pope's doing his papal power trip, George Dubya's freaking out, and I don't know how long Leslie and I can hold out.
We're heading into our 20th year (looking for tips on how to stay together? Take a number), and we have a 16-year-old daughter we conceived from scratch. We could be poster girls for the new matrimony movement.
I almost turned into one of these while guesting on a recent TV panel on the subject. One religio-het opponent of gay marriage kept insisting marriage means people in long-term relationships who want to procreate. Got that covered, I shot back, or something like it. "And anyway, you're not aiming to make all straight couples who wed promise to bear children or forfeit their marriage licence if they don't."
Blood ties, ancestral linkages are important, offers another detractor. Got that covered. "My brother donated his sperm to my partner so we could conceive and produce our incredible, very well-adjusted kid. And, come on, I don't see you campaigning to ban adoption."
I was getting into it. Outrage fires the mind. Then, suddenly, the words formed in my mind: "Don't you dare tell me I can't marry! If you keep this up, I just might do it."
As I say, we're not booking the hall just yet. We're uneasy about the way so many gays are flocking to their nuptials so they can at last feel like they belong - just like straight people only just a teeny tiny bit different. But we didn't have a daughter so we could be homo-hets and fit in. We had a child to share our love and mess with the hoary old nuclear family.
And if we're shopping for anything, it's not for matching rings but for a ritual that reflects our core beliefs. We're interested in connections more tailored to the individual and the situation, relationships that aren't the creation of male property rites and restrictive religious baggage, which, by the way, many gay married couples seem perfectly willing to carry.
Historically, marriage has not been a warm and fuzzy institution for women. On the contrary, it's been part of a package we're trying to undo.
We're into difference and experimenting with new roles, whereas marriage is constructed out of a paradigm that's way too narrow - a couple, two people. One male, one female, it used to be. Now maybe it can be two women or two men. Why only two genders? What about those who don't identify as either? And why only two people, for that matter?
And why at this stage in our lives do we need the state to confirm the fact that we sleep together every night?
But Paul Martin isn't as consistent on the issue as his predecessor. The Pope says queers walking down the aisle degrades the holy institution. George Bush is fantasizing about a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. And I'm starting to get a bit of that sick Bill 167 feeling, the sense that, as with the first spousal benefits test, we could lose.
Now couples are lining up outside San Francisco's City Hall. The theory is, if enough couples say "I do," fewer states will be able to say "You can't." Rolling back rights will become too politically and bureaucratically impractical. Like, just how many legal annulments will governments want to seek?
I'm getting a glimmer of the possibilities for matrimony as an act of resistance, and not merely an act of conformity.
Don't worry. We won't be giving some wedding planner thousands of bucks to design the centrepieces. And there won't be a gown and garter. But if this anxious feeling deepens, Leslie and I may just saunter down to City Hall for a few minutes of political action.