Keeping Families Together
The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog
March 11, 2011
Those Jersey Boys Are Tying the Knot
By BELINDA AND JOHN DRONKERS-LAURETA
Our Son Is Getting Married
A ‘save the date’ card came in the mail, a very original one. You may have seen posters for the musical Those Jersey Boys: four men standing on a white stage, their backs to the camera, each with one upraised arm in a jubilant greeting, all facing a red horizon with what looks like klieg lights above it. Well, the card is the same except there are only two men and the caption reads: “These Jersey Boys Tie the Knot. Thursday Evening, July 14. Bloomfield, New Jersey.” We are so happy, our son is getting married.
Why Is Our Son Getting Married
Our son, Lance, and his partner of fifteen years, Francis, live in New Jersey. That state was one of the first to enact domestic partnerships in July of 2004 and then, in February 2007, Civil Unions. Lance and Francis are in a civil union and thus have all the rights New Jersey bestows on married couples, but none of the 1000 or so rights the federal government bestows. So: they have been together for 15 years, they own a house together, they have all the same rights as a New Jersey married couple, and they are not going to get any federal rights. Why marry? In the first place, they don’t refer to the July 14 (their anniversary) ceremony as a wedding and they are not getting married, they are not allowed. For them, it is a commitment ceremony and they want to do it, because that is as close as they are legally allowed to come to a formal expression of mutual love. They do it because just as heterosexual couples announce their love for each other in a formal ceremony linking their lives and futures together in front of family and friends, so do Lance and Francis want to express their love for each other in front of family and friends.
What Do His Parents Think
We are ecstatic. The last of our three children to link his life publicly and with ceremony to a man whom he loves, Lance and Francis’ wedding means that all our children are a couple. We refer to the ceremony as a wedding. If it feels like a wedding, if it looks like a wedding, if it achieves a purpose like a wedding, then it is a wedding. The planned ceremony has all the pomp and circumstance we have experienced with the weddings of his brother and sister. It has a professional singer, it has rose petals strewn in the path of the couple walking with steps timed to the measures of a song toward the place where scripted vows will be exchanged, niece and nephew will bear the rings, Lance’s sister will read a careful selected, appropriate piece, Francis’ sister will do the same, there will be food and dancing and toasts. And all that in front of their family and friends. We have known Francis for a slightly shorter time than he and Lance have been together. He stays with us on his west coast antiquing trips and he has helped us furnish our house with Asian antiques. Still, it is marvelous to refer to him as our son-in-law and not to have to think twice.
Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride apifamilypride.org