This past week, my state (Minnesota) became the 12th state in the U.S. to legalize same-sex marriage.
This means that as of August 1, 2013, our gay family members and acquaintances will be able to stop using the term “partner” in reference to their significant other, and start using the term “husband.” Or “wife.”
That’s too bad.
Okay, now, liberal friends and readers – you do not have to click away in disgust at my unenlightened homophobic ways. Neither am I about to extol the virtues of same sex marriage and all its wonderful benefits, so my conservative friends and readers can also pick themselves back up off the floor!
It’s too bad because I think that “partner” is a delightful way to describe a relationship, no matter which side of the same-sex marriage debate a person lands on. Marriage is a partnership. It’s not a hierarchy. At least not a healthy marriage. It’s a team effort. It’s two people working together toward whatever goal you are striving for. Sometimes this means one person needs more support; other times it means that person is the giver of support.
Apparently, I am an egalitarian hipster – because I was egalitarian before it was cool. Or at least before I knew it was cool. At the very least, before I knew the official difference between a complementarian and an egalitarian. The point is, my husband and I went into our marriage agreeing that we were equal partners. That according to what we had seen in Scripture, submission was mutual and was a matter of common courtesy and preferring others over ourselves. Do we always do a great job at this? No – because people are inherently selfish and don’t like to prefer others.
About a year ago, we made a contact at a community meeting, who followed up with Patrick via email, saying,”It was great to meet you and your partner last night.” Obviously, this was her way of not assuming…it jarred me a little bit because I was accustomed to everyone in my circle being fully aware of my marital status [and, of course, being part of the evangelical world, where the common assumption is holy matrimony and not the alternative!].
But as I thought about it more, I really liked the terminology.
So now that the LGBT community gets to use the terms “husband” and “wfe” to describe their relationships…can I start using “partner” instead??