On joy, and a changed Facebook relationship status

So I’m engaged.

Actually, hold that thought.  Before I launch into full-on exultation, I’d just like to say “thank you.”  As sentimental as this will doubtless sound, I took a lot of comfort in the warm wishes and affection of the community here at the League.  So many of you took the time to write thoughtful, supportive and kind comments on my “Yes on 1” post, and it sincerely meant the world to me.  The past few days have been incredibly tense, and as polls tightened I began to fear for the worst.  Your words helped me get through that.  Thank you.

Anyhow, I’m engaged.

On the one hand, it feels like a silly thing to say.  The Better Half and I have lived together for eight years.  We’ve shared the raising of two small children, a mortgage and each other’s shoes over the better part of the last decade.  Our daily lives will carry on the same way from here as they did yesterday.  Plus, we already exchanged vows at a big religious ceremony several years ago, complete with cake and numerous clergy.  We’ve considered ourselves married in all but the legal sense for years.

But that legal part means so, so much.  I’ve already said my piece about why it was important to us, and so I needn’t repeat myself.  Winning equality last night felt like a tight steel band in my chest had snapped.  We have worked so hard for this.  It was such a bitter thing to lose three years ago, and it is such a precious joy to have won now.  Being invited to our place at the table by popular acclamation, while no less [whoopsie, that should be “more”] legitimate in my eyes than by legislative or judicial means, nonetheless makes me happier than I can say.

It also delights me that equality passed in Maryland, may still yet pass in Washington, and that inequality seems to have been turned back in Minnesota.  (Merciful heavens, please let the tallies hold.)  It adds a small measure of glee that my best friend and world’s best co-blogger got to vote for equality the same day I did, and I’m as happy for Jason and Scott as I am for myself.  It was a very good night.

Maybe, just maybe families and relationships like mine will cease to be political issues.  Perhaps we’re on our way to becoming mundane.  Dare I hope that same-sex marriage might one day be… boring?  Gracious!  I shall have to endeavor to find another way to be interesting.

As I said, it was a very good night.  I voted for both President Obama and Angus King, and I landed a hat trick.  I have more partisan things to say about the election results, but I think I’ll save that for tomorrow.  (It seems churlish to rant about Karl Rove and Mitch McConnell in a post that’s meant to be celebratory.)  For now, I am content to simply be happy, and to think about what kind of ceremony we’ll have and when.  For now, I am merely grateful.

Thank you.

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.


  1. In some ways I think the most important work starts for you now. You are going to serve as an example to the rest of the country. A testimony to what gay marriage actually looks like in practice. It’s a big responsibility but I have no doubt you are up to the task.

    Congrats Russell.

    • Thanks, Mike. The Better Half has a very public and prominent vocation, and so we’re used to being the Model Gay Citizen Couple. Which can be a challenge, since I’m really a misanthropic crank at heart, and thus I have to pretend to be nice quite a bit.

      But yeah, now we enter the “Don’t Screw This Up!” phase of things.

      • Now, Doctor.
        You weren’t the one laughing at the kid who fell in the puppy pit at the zoo, were you?

        Not quite as misanthropic as you thought, hmmm? 😉

        Congratulations, and wishes for many more victories to come!

          • oy, if you think i’m bad, you should see my husband!
            Him:”So Indiana’s the Hooter state”
            Me:”That’s Hoosier state”
            Him:”You think you’re the first person to tell me that? I’ll forget it next week, as usual.”

      • I wish the both of you the very best. Ongoing love is the finest of all things in life.

        But this Model Citizen business? I’ve watched the civil rights struggle as blacks and then Latinos were integrated into the larger American society. Those cultures felt they had to be Model Citizens, too, representing something larger than themselves. It was a struggle for them and led to considerable and unnecessary pressure. You don’t have to be Model Citizens. You’re just citizens, now blessed with the right to marry, as do all the heterosexual citizens.

        We are defined by love. There’s no model for that sort of thing. Love is as unique as the lovers.

    • Indeed the hardest jobs are going to start now.
      A) making sure we do marriage justice and
      B) making sure our movement both keeps the momentum and achieves our justified goals AND doesn’t overshoot, overreach and fall into that horrible place where social movements go when they refuse to take yes for an answer.

  2. I’d have the giggles if I didn’t have to wipe my eyes.

    This is wonderful.

    Are you registered anywhere?

    • We have more than we need. If people feel inclined to put money into something celebratory, nothing would please us more than to have people donate to good causes.

      And thank you, my friend.

        • I mean, yeah. I’ll send a bacon press amount of money to a state that has SSM on the ballot for 2013.

          • Have you never experienced the joys of the bacon press?

            Well, you can get one here. The basic idea is that you put your bacon in the frying pan and put the bacon press on top of it and it won’t get all curly but instead be flat and attractive like in the commercials.

            Then you should scramble your eggs in the bacon grease. Oh yes.

          • I hate to be a downer, but a flat-bottomed Corningware dish works just as well.

          • I’ve tried the oven method, which many folks swear by, with mixed results. I tend to cook it in the cast iron with very little warpage. And of COURSE I fry my eggs in it. I fry everything in it. I store bacon grease like it’s gold!

          • I’ve done bacon every way there is to do bacon. (That doesn’t sound right.) Nothing beats George Foreman: cooks flat with no flipping, cooks tasty (greasy but not too greasy), no grease spatter anywhere, just pop the plates easy peasy into the dishwasher. Grease is easily stored for later.

          • For years, I was a confirmed oven bacon man. Half a dozen kids on a sleepover, put some foil down on a pan and do up the whole rasher of bacon at once, with sausages on the lower rack. Every kid should get his fill of bacon, once in his or her life.

            But I’m with ktward on this George Foreman approach for smaller doses of greezy goodness. It is a sin against both pig and man to reduce bacon to a ghastly chip.

      • So it seems safe to presume that you won’t mind if in lieu of a gift to you and the Better Half, Mrs. Likko and I donate the equivalent amount of money to the “Repeal Prop. 8” campaign that should be getting started out here in California in 4… 3… 2…

        And of course we are absoutely thrilled that he’s going to make an honest man out of you at last. 🙂

        • I presumed there’d been no “Repeal Prop 8” initiative to avoid mooting the ongoing court cases.

          • Well, I’m writing the language in my copious spare time:

            SEC. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Notwithstanding any provision of any statutory law of this State, this State shall issue marriage licenses to all otherwise-eligible couples, and shall grant recognition to otherwise-valid marriage licenses issued by other jurisdictions, without consideration of the combination of sexes of the marital partners.

            But there might be a better way to phrase it.

          • I suppose that adding

            Sec 7.5.1.
            Hey, Maggie Gallagher, suck on this!

            would be inappropriate.

  3. Congratulations Russell. Apologies if it appeared as if I didn’t support your bid for marriage equality by an earlier dearth of such congratulations. I have just had a hectic past week.

  4. This is such wonderful news! As James said in another thread, on our wedding day we never imagined that this would happen for our SS friends. Our excitement this morning at seeing marriage equality winning the popular vote in the polls is nothing compared to how I felt reading this post. We’ve never met, but I am genuinely giddy for you and your soon to be husband. I wish you many more wonderful boring days together as a legally wed couple.

    • We’d love to meet you! Come to Maine! We have plentiful lobster in summer, fresh off the boat right behind our house.

      And, of course, thank you!

      • A lobster roll I had on the pier in Wiscasset remains one of the great meals I have had in my life.

      • Anyone whose joy can genuinely bring tears to the eyes of my dear cranky husband has something special! We definitely need to meet, I have always wanted to visit Maine. I’m sure you know we have our own little posse – they make fine toddler entertainers!

  5. Congratulations! I am so happy and so relieved at the way things have turned out.

    As some of you know already, Scott and I also considered ourselves married as of a long time ago. It had nothing to do with the government; governments have had a long history of failing to recognize perfectly good marriages (cf. Loving v. Virginia), so whatever. We’d decide for ourselves, and we did.

    There were no guests; there was no party. Nothing really of the usual wedding trappings. There was just a decision to stay with each other, come what may — and a moment in which it was suddenly, undeniably real.

    Eventually we added a commitment to travel to wherever in the world would first perform a legal marriage for us. That turned out to be Ontario, so in July of 2003, we went.

    Not too long before that, I had put up a big batch of mead (honey wine) that I’d made myself. I made certain it was a recipe that would age well. “We’re not touching it until we can get legally married.” It turned out the mead was still too young at our wedding; the change came just that fast. But we drank it anyway.

    Every year since then, we’ve opened a single bottle on our anniversary. There are I think six or seven bottles left. As we’re no longer waiting in any sense of the word, we might just opt to open the rest at our ten-year renewal of vows. You will all be invited.

    • I can’t adequately express my happiness for you and Scott.

      My own wedding aside, this just might be the most wonderful day of my life.

    • Send us the date and the location. Mrs. Likko and I will find a way to be there and celebrate with you because we are just plain overjoyed.

      • Streaming video for the rest of us!

        So very many congrats (and for my Maryland friend Jessica, and so, many, many others).

    • Aw Jason–what an incredibly touching story about you and your beloved. Brought a tear to my eye.

    • I was thinking of you two, too, on Election Night. I love the image of the two of you drinking honey wine on every anniversary, and I will hope hope hope that Jaybird and I can be there to toast you when you renew your vows.

      (Oddly enough, my first ex-boyfriend, who is one of my oldest friends, and his partner live in Maryland, and they ALSO got married in Canada, as soon as they could – a bit later than you did, in 2006 – and, as part of the celebration, we all shared bottles of red wine from his partner’s vineyard. They are planning to renew their vows in Maryland sometime in the next year or so. I would be highly amused if the two dates roughly coincide.)

  6. Dammit, man, I’ve got tears in my eyes. Just the other day my daughter said she couldn’t imagine me crying. Now look what you’ve done to me.

      • Seriously, I had to walk down to the bathroom to blow my nose and wipe my eyes.

        I swear it’s not true, but my wife says I have a romantic streak. Maybe so.

  7. A nice grey suit is wonderful for a winter wedding, and well-positioned orchids can have a visual impact equal to that of bushels of non-seasonal flowers. And honeymoon in Canada:


    I have no connection to any company mentioned in the article but I have a weakness for cute small-town inns and hostelries. (Hope this isn’t inappropriate, Russell).


    • Oh, hell. Even if it were inappropriate (which it isn’t), I’m in far too good a mood to care.

      We are thinking about what another honeymoon would be like. And what we’d do with the Critter and Squirrel.

      • I’m not licensed for animals but if they are even remotely human like, I can probably wrangle them for a few days.

  8. “…and [shared] each other’s shoes over the better part of the last decade…”

    I feel like this is the SECOND TIME I’ve had to weigh in to say that it doesn’t seem like you gays really have it all that bad. Zazzy’s give me blisters to no end.

    Congrats, good sir. This is truly exciting and wonderful news for you and the family.

      • By the way, when are you going to tell us HOW the proposal went down? We totally have to dish with proposal stories!

        • If you mean last night’s conversation during which I became officially “engaged,” it’s incredibly banal. (We’d decided the last time around that of course we would get legally married if it passed, so there was no Big Event last night.) I turned to the Better Half and said “So, I think I’ll change my Facebook relationship status to ‘engaged.'”

          If you mean the moment when I asked him to spend his life with me, well… those are stories best shared in person over some kind of convivial beverage.

          • Let’s make that happen then. 🙂

            Mine involved an imaginary cat. To this day, I’m still chided for the catlessness of the event.

          • “Mine involved an imaginary cat. To this day, I’m still chided for the catlessness of the event.”

            Somewhere, there is a Kazzy who is not engaged (or married) because of the OTHER imaginary cat.

          • Kazzy’s Cat… where his wife is both happy and unhappy at the same time.

          • Mine involved an imaginary cat. To this day, I’m still chided for the catlessness of the event

            My parents once told me they only got married so they could provide a stable home for the dog.

  9. I could not be happier for you, Jason, and Scott. These things always reduce me to tears, but actually knowing such excellent people for whom all of this is real and vital… I’m toast. I can’t even think about all this without crying like a baby. Congrats, you guys.

    • Thank you, my friend. I was a wreck last night, and still go all squishy at random moments, but mostly I pretty much can’t stop grinning.

    • What is this salty discharge leaking from my eyes?

      Hmmm… probably viral, but I should call in some drops, just in case.

      And, of course, thank you in all seriousness.

      • Hmmm… probably viral, but I should call in some drops, just in case

        Unless it is greenish and thick*, in which case it could be bacterial.

        *Yes I’ve had greenish discharge. In fact, it happened 8 years ago on election day when Bush got re-elected. I was in the army and watching the election on the television set in the medical center.

  10. My deepest and warmest congratulations to you and your family, Doc.

  11. I’m over the moon that these ballots passed (and relieved as hell that that other one didn’t).

    Mazel tov!

  12. Man, I’m suddenly a little teary. I’m so, so happy for all four of you.

    And Jason and Scott, and North (who may not even be in one of the states where an election was held), and to everyone else, really.

    This is a good, good day.

    • I think North is in Minnesota, so I imagine he’s feeling pretty good today, too.

      Hoping that I don’t get unforgivably maudlin here in the comments, I’ll just tell you that your friendship and support has meant the world to me.

      • North is indeed in Minnesota and North is over the moon and North is extremely happy for you both Doc and Jason and why the hell is North talking in third person?

        Seriously though congrats. Minnesota dodged the bullet (the only thing preventing this from being a picture perfect election is that loon Bachman managed to cling to her seat) and I’m enormously gratified that the one electoral activist event I’ve involved myself was a success. The cheer that went up at the gathering I was at when we pulled ahead… I won’t lie, I wept for a moment.

        • Had we been able (read: newborn-free), we would have attended the “Yes on 1” election-night event in Portland. And I would have been a mess when the result was announced.

          A. Total. Mess.

          I am so happy for you, too, my friend. It was a great night for all of us.

  13. I brought my son along so I could always say I had him with me when marriage equality first became legal.

    I am so happy it happened by referendum, I am so happy it happened, I couldn’t pick two other states I’d rather it happen in than Maine and Maryland!

    And of course you can leave Critter and Squirrel with us!

  14. Dare I hope that same-sex marriage might one day be… boring?

    Yes, but not yet. There’s some serious wedding planning and partying to go on first.

    Maybe next year? That’s when I hope we’ll pick up the cause of the trans population, and open the doors to better access to medical care and an end to the discrimination they face.

  15. So what happens now? How do these things work “down there”? Does marriage become automatically legal on January 1, 2013?

    • >>So what happens now? How do these things work “down there”?

      I think they work the same for the Doc and Hubby as for any other two people… (Insert “Illustrated Sex Guide” joke)

  16. Congratulations to you and your better half. A toast to enduring love!

    It’s been wonderful to see more and more states approve SSM, and particularly gratifying to see it win electoral approval this go round (after the major disappointment of California’s vote on Prop. 8). I’m still holding my breathe and crossing my fingers that the Washington measure passes (as it looks like it’s going to), so that good friends of ours will be able to tie the knot.

    Again, congratulations. I look forward to the day when gay marriage does indeed become banal.

    • Just heard on the news that the Washington initiative passed. Hooray!!!

      • I’ve been increasingly happy and relieved to see the vote totals confirmed in all four states. The day looks even better in retrospect.

        And, of course, thank you for your congratulations.

  17. Mazel tov!

    Incidentally, I don’t know how often you get to Portland, or if you live nearby already, but the Allabash Brewery is really superb. Cheers!

  18. I admit that, sometimes, I skim/skip through particularly long threads due to time constraints or my ADD or whatever. But not this one. I’m such a sucker for this kind of happy. It’s so deeply … human. Reduces me to a choked up mess, though, which is why my kids refuse to see happy-ending movies with me anymore at the theatre. (“Ma, seriously? What are you crying about? Everybody’s happy! Please stop. This is so embarrassing.”)

    You have my sincere wishes for a long and happy life of wedded bliss, with an extra woo-hoo! on the wedded part. 🙂

  19. I post this, for everyone who says there’s no difference between Obama and Romney”

    A pair of letters

    I could so see this being written by one of Russell’s children!

  20. Congratulations, not just the legal side but you know you’ve made it when your relationship is on facebook 😉

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