Elections have consequences, like an invitation to the wedding of Tina Roose and Teresa Guajardo, December 15, in the Rotunda of the State Capitol Building, in Olympia Washington – and to tie the knot along with them, if you are a same-sex couple so inclined. Today, same-sex weddings in Washington State are On Our Radar..
The election took a toll on my nerves. I got too cocky. With his “47%,” and his “Corporations are people too,” Governor Romney’s campaign was so ineffectual I dared to harbor a secret daydream; “Maybe we can retake the House.” I went into that first debate with the expectation President Obama would finish off the Beast of Bain; drive a stake through his heart, incinerate him with a blowtorch, and use the ashes as mulch in Michelle’s White House garden. But instead…
Sorry, I still can’t go there. We all know what happened. Somebody slipped a hit of speed into Governor Romney’s Perrier and President Obama’s mind was elsewhere that evening. I like to pretend he was distracted because our Special Forces were, at that very moment, engaged in first contact with visiting aliens. I find it helps.
After that debate, a tsunami of worry washed over Democrats from coast to coast. While we were frantically treading water, that cold wave floated the boats of Conservatives that had long been mired in the muck they called the Republican Primary. There was a universal shudder on the social media sites I frequent at the realization, “We could lose!” The mood on my Twitter timeline went from dancing to dirge. My Facebook friends were just as full of angst. All except one: Laurie from Chicago, she of the perpetually smiling profile photo.
No matter what worrisome news article I posted, or what personal anxiety I confessed on Facebook, Laurie would write “Obama Wins!” in the comment section. Governor Romney went ahead in the polls? “Obama wins!” Tag Romney wants to punch POTUS? “Obama wins!!” I’ve eaten an entire bag of Halloween candy watching Maddow? “Obama wins!!!” The only thing Laurie ever wavered about was the number of exclamation points she felt were needed to counter my expressions of heresy.
At first “Obama wins!” was background noise. Obviously no one could predict that outcome with any reliability. Even Nate Silver never announced a 100% certainty that the president would be reelected. “It ain’t over til it’s over,” right? I learned that lesson from Yogi Bera and from Lenny Kravitz and from the butterfly ballot surprise of 2000. Add to that the steady drip of stories about states undertaking voter suppression efforts, and I think it was just good mental health practice that I was trying to guard my heart against a Republican rout.
But Laurie’s optimism grew on me. The more the polls tightened, the more I was comforted by her reassurance. Eight-hour lines in Florida? “Obama wins!” Voter fraud billboards erected in black neighborhoods? “Obama wins!!” I have run out of M&Ms and am reduced to picking the raisins out of the Raisin Bran? “Obama wins!!!” I was a junkie and Laurie was my crack dealer. The closer it got to the election, the more I was willing to believe she had some insider information. Some mystic crystal revelation. Some whispered reassurance from the gods. I wanted to believe like she believed, but I could never quite convince myself, and I despaired she was unique in all the universe.
Little did I know across the country in Olympia, Washington, Laurie had two soul sisters of electoral prognostication, who, like my friend, were unflinchingly positive about the results of the election. But unlike Laurie, it was not the presidential race they were betting on. Teresa Guajardo and Tina Roose steadfastly believed that the voters of their state would pass Referendum 74, making same-sex marriage legal in Washington State. They were so sure, they bet their wedding on it.
There really was no reason for their optimism. Until the election on November 6, no same-sex marriage initiative, (and there have been over 30 of them), had ever been approved by popular vote. But Teresa and Tina must have had a “Laurie-type” conviction this would be their moment. I’m not sure what tea leaves they read, but in February, long before the final polling data might have given them a hint of the outcome, Teresa and Tina reserved the State Capitol Rotunda for their wedding on December 15, the first Saturday same-sex couples would be legally permitted to marry in Washington State if – make than when – Referendum 74 passed.
Teresa and Tina have been on what they refer to as their “magical marriage tour,” for 13 years. For them, Referendum 74 was personal. It is understandable that election night filled them with the spirit of celebration. Obama wins!! Yes he did. But more importantly, their fellow citizens had recognized and validated their commitment to one another. Teresa and Tina were finally getting married! How could two such positive souls not want to share their joy?
It was that election night spirit of celebration that inspired Teresa and Tina to invite same-sex couples planning on being married to join them December 15, to tie the knot in the State Capitol Rotunda. What a memorable way to celebrate marriage equality in Washington! Thanks to the generosity of Tina and Teresa, same-sex couples who have hoped for, worked for, and waited so long for their wedding days, will gather on the balconies of the Rotunda and let the proclamations of their love for one another echo through those marbled halls where history is made. (And, as Teresa observed, the Capitol is a “spectacularly beautiful” place for a wedding.)
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