I’ve not really cried yet—been floating in a zombie-like cloud of shock since about noon. Bureaucracy strikes again and this time it struck me and my partner of nearly fourteen years. I supposed I could be mad at the workings of government of Baltimore—but I’m not. The lady on the phone, who has been so good and so kind, she was in tears. No. It’s Kansas City, MO—all the way.
For us to get married in Baltimore we have two options.
1) Go to the courthouse on one day and fill out the paperwork, and then return on the second day. That day we can get married.
Unfortunately, that option does not work for us. We arrive on Saturday (and they are closed on Saturday) and we leave on Monday. We won’t be there two weekdays.
2) The second option that Maryland has so kindly offered couples; they send you an affidavit. Non-residents take this affidavit to the court/circuit court for the county in which they reside. At the bottom of the form is this small place, a few inches high, that you do not fill out until you get to your city’s equivalent of where marriage licenses are issued. They check your ID, then fill out the few lines, allowing Maryland officials know that you are who you say you are. It is the same thing as if we showed up in MD one day, and returned the next to get married.
Notice that the city of residence is not providing a marriage license. They are not marrying you. They are not giving you legal permission to get married. All they are doing is proving to MD that you are a resident of your county and that you are who you say you are. Then that form is mailed to MD and they proceed as normal, sending you your marriage license so you can then show up and get married.
So that is what we tried to do. We started with the department that issues marriage licenses and they had us call the City Councilor who had NO idea why we called them. They called us a few days later and told us the Secretary of State could help. Why they would help we did not know, but okay….
So we headed down there, and the people in that office read the paperwork, and yes! Just as we thought. They told us we needed to go to the department through the circuit court that provides marriage licenses—just like the paperwork said. So we went there in person and they told us to go to circuit court. So we went there and they wanted us to go to the department that does notary public stuff—even though it clearly says on the paperwork that is good enough. So they sent us to the Kansas City head of the circuit court and he was out of the office and they contacted him and he said he couldn’t help us—that Kansas City doesn’t issue licenses for same sex marriage!
We told them, like everywhere we went, that they weren’t ISSUING us a marriage license. ALL they were doing was looking at our ID, and saying, yes, they are who they say they are and they live in Jackson County, MO.
They sent us back to the marriage license people who had THE City Councilor come down and talk to us.
This is what he said. “No one will sign this because no one wants to stick their neck out….”
We explained that no one was sticking their necks out! All they were doing was looking at our ID! That was it!
He wouldn’t do it and sent us back to the Secretary of State.
They did it all. Signed everything, notarized everything, and gave us this gorgeous piece of paper with this gold foil embossed seal and we sent it off to the city of Baltimore with an $85 check….
And Baltimore couldn’t accept it. Not wouldn’t. Couldn’t. Their <i.law says it has to have a court seal. And our courts wouldn’t give it to us.
I could tell the Baltimore people were upset. Tammy, this incredibly sweet lady, had to finally sign off because SHE was starting to cry. The manager for the Baltimore marriage license department asked us why we just couldn’t fly in a day early….
Because I would have to take an unpaid day off AND because the hotel is around $300 a night. We have no family or friends or even acquaintances that we could stay with on Friday night and we do NOT have the money to stay another night in the hotel. This whole trip is already costing close to $2,000 and we do NOT have the funds to make the one more day in Baltimore work. We are already having to skip getting wedding bands and were using these old $10 battered up silver rings. We didn’t and don’t have any more funds. I already can’t imagine what we’ll be eating in Baltimore. McDonalds?
So there you have it. I am crushed. I still can’t cry. I’ve gone for a long walk with a friend—I’ve floated around in a stunned fog for eight hours—I’ve written about it—and I can’t even quite cry. Almost. But I am still so stunned.
There it was. Marriage. After close to fourteen years, we WERE getting MARRIED!!!
And now we’re not. That’s it. Case closed. NO one will budge and we can’t go a day early.
You know I really am a positive person. People who know me know I can turn almost anything around—that I find the silver lining. But wow…. I’m not finding it.
Raymond reminds me that we’re going to Baltimore to get away—to be together—to have fun—to see a city we would never have had the chance to see before. That the marriage was the cherry on the sundae.
But for me I guess it had become the sundae. I wanted to look at people and hold out my hand and say, “I’s married now! I’s married now!”
I heard someone saying that at church just the other day and I now think… “Wow. You can get married. I guess I’m not good enough….”
To have it soooooooo close, and then just have it SNATCHED away!
I believe everything happens for a reason. I will find it. Somehow I will find it. We can always go to Iowa. They’d be happy to marry us. So many people we know went to Iowa. But the thing is, for some reason R was inspired by this trip. Finally it was his idea instead of mine. Suddenly HE wanted to get married.
We know we were married Novemeber 5th, 2005. And we believed, we told each other, that a license was just a piece of paper.
But you know what? It’s not. It’s NOT just a piece of paper. It’s not.
You know I never really dared imagine that I would be legally married one day.
Then I thought I would. That it was actually going to happen.
Now I am being denied a piece of paper.
It might make a good book, huh? What do you say Elizabeth? And Rick? It’s not too close to your book, right? I don’t think so…. In the meantime, we’ve called the Kansas City Star. Who knows? Maybe they’ll do a story too?