What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author: Victoria Klein)One thing I have come to appreciate more than anything this year is my marriage. Getting married was an amazing experience, truly the best day of my life, but my appreciation goes so much deeper than flower arrangements or photo albums. I love my husband and I will treasure our wedding memories, but what I mean to say is, I appreciate the fact that we were able to get married in the first place.
Over the past few years I have become a huge advocate for marriage equality. I believe that Love does not have a gender, and that every Loving couple has an innate right to pledge themselves to each other in the eyes of God and of the State. I believe that the government therefore has a responsibility to protect each and every one of those couples as stated in the Constitution, protecting their Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness. Our wedding day was filled with joy, but it saddens me to think that there are so many people in this country that are denied that same experience. As a hetero couple, it is so easy for Mr LikesIt and I to take for granted the rights we have as married persons. No one questions the legitimacy of our relationship, nor the claim we have to each other (or our health benefits, bank accounts, or visitation rights). It is so easy to forget that not everyone gets that same treatment in this country. It absolutely baffles me that a country founded on principles of liberty, a country currently at war overseas defending those principles, will also deny basic freedoms to a minority population on the homefront.
But since the wedding, it is in my mind more than ever. A few weeks ago, Illinois passed a civil unions act, meaning that the state we were married in has made progress I can wholeheartedly appreciate. In an odd twist of fate, the day it was signed into law was also the day I received our marriage certificate in the mail. I feel so fortunate that I have found a person I want to spend my life with, and also so fortunate that we were able to perform the simple act of entering into a legal and binding state without protest. I appreciate the privilege we have in being married, and I hope to honor the institution for decades to come. I sincerely hope that soon we will be joined in matrimony by any other couple that so chooses, in any state.