Two friends celebrated their fifth anniversary the other day. It wasn’t a wedding anniversary because they’re gay and live in Mississippi, but it was a big deal.
My wife and I were invited to the reception that followed their commitment ceremony. Everyone was smiling. Music played and people danced. A few guests might’ve had too much alcohol, but it was a party. Good times.
And now five years of commitment. Five years of sharing bills and chores. Five years of sickness and health. Five years of good times and bad.
It was hard for them a few years ago, when a parent needed hospice care.
They pulled together through their loved one’s physical and mental decline.
They made friends among caregivers and connected with others who’d lost parents.
They went to church. They prayed. They comforted. They cried. They buried. They grieved.
They don’t have children, but they have nieces and nephews, and tend to attract friends the way stars attract astronomers. They both have this general appreciation for people that others feel and respond to.
But let’s not go overboard. They’re gay, not perfect. I’ve seen them as cranky as 10-year-olds after staying up all night at a sleepover.
When it comes to inappropriate language, this little black pot is saying that at least one of them is a black kettle.
There are other negatives I could mention, but we’ll let them slide on their anniversary.
Five years isn’t much for couples who’ve shared wedded bliss for 25, 50 or even 75 years.
But I’ve known others who’ve gone through one marriage after another, the way some trade in cars. I’ve known of marriages that didn’t last a week.
A five-year commitment, even if it’s not recognized by the Great State of Mississippi, is worth celebrating. Promises were made and promises were kept.
I don’t know your thoughts about gay marriage. Friends have told me the idea of two men or two women getting together cheapens their marriage, but I don’t see it.
I had issues with gay marriage until I realized my problem. I’d thought of gay marriage as something that involved me, as though I were the one marrying a guy. I like to think I’m open-minded, but that idea sets off flashing red lights and clanging bells.
I’m a man who’s attracted to women. Gay marriage isn’t about me.
It’s about a woman who likes women or a man who likes men. It’s their business.
I should add that another friend once said the great thing about being gay is not having to get married, but it would be a glorious thing in the anniversary couple’s case.
I knew one before she met her partner, and the difference between then and now is easy to sum up: Happiness.
Everybody needs a friend. Everybody needs somebody to trust.
Everybody needs somebody to love, no matter what Mississippi says.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.