Audra Friend (front) is the Program Coordinator at the Unitarian Universalist Association Office for Congregational Advocacy and Witness. She lives in Boston with her wife, Audrey Fergason.
I have a wide range of pins and buttons decorating the corkboard in my office. My walls are dotted with posters and signs. Even my water bottle is collaged with slogans and logos: Freedom to Marry Coalition, Amnesty OUTfront!, Equal Marriage NOW, and Human Rights Campaign.
But my favorite token of support for marriage equality is the silver wedding ring on my left hand.
As of today, I’ve been married for four months. If you had asked me four months ago if a legal marriage would change anything for me, I would have said no. My wife and I were committed to each other; our families supported us; my work and her school were welcoming communities. Legal marriage seemed momentous to be sure, but I was confident my life wouldn’t change.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Moments after my boss, Susan Leslie, who was solemnized for the day to perform our wedding, signed the marriage license, my world changed. My mother cried and hugged my wife – her new daughter-in-law – and my wife’s teenaged cousins crowed that we were now legally connected. My younger brother – who married before me – joked that I was officially a big girl. Surrounded by our friends and family, all who had the benefit of legal marriage, my wife and I found that our relationship had changed in their minds.
Audrey and I feel quite blessed to be in a state where we can be legally married, a sentiment driven home to us when we traveled to New York and North Carolina in January. Even though we happily had no problems, we both realized that despite our wedding rings, our commitment, our families, and our legal marriage, we had no protections as a couple outside of Massachusetts. It was a sobering reminder of how important the fight for marriage equality is and how so many couples in the United States are not as lucky as we are.
All relationships deserve to be treated equally. This week, consider having a conversation with someone about marriage equality. Freedom to Marry offers some conversation starters. If you are married, consider your ring as your token of support for marriage equality and lift up your voice with ours.
Great story, Audra!