When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage, I was not in my home state of Arizona. I didn't spend that night out at IBTs, the gay bar on 4th Avenue in Tucson. I wasn't with friends at Phoenix Pride, happening that same weekend. I was, like many of my peers, gone for the summer. In Arizona, the heat can push a person out.
I had a friend read me the key parts of the decision issued by the Supreme Court. It seemed fitting to hear it spoken, as I am on the path to an engagement myself. There's a ring hidden somewhere in the home I share with my love. Marriage is something to me now, it didn't used to be.
It started with my parents. My mom received her engagement ring in the mail. Her fiancé, my dad, was away at Officer Candidate School for the U.S. Marine Corps. They got married in a church in Litchfield Park, a patch of 1960s suburbia in the concrete-jungles of Phoenix, Arizona. Twenty-one years later, their divorce papers were filed in Southern Arizona's Pima County.
My parents separated the summer I left Tucson for Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio to go through basic training. I came back to two houses. It was like any story of divorce—messy, emotional, and capable of inducing crippling doubt. When they fell apart, something in me gave way. I no longer could see myself making a commitment when the potential dissolution of it could be so damaging to everyone. Later, my mom would tell me that she got married because she thought she was supposed to.