I grew up in Bellingham, Massachusetts on a small family farm. We grew and sold fresh produce and raised animals to feed the family. For a while we even lost money on a small dairy herd. It was a great way for a kid to grow up. When I wasn’t working the fields, I was exploring the forests around the farm.
Today, Bellingham is a growing bedroom community located somewhere between Boston and Providence. The forests are being turned into planned communities, and strip malls are popping up all over town. Our old family farm is still there, however. My dad sold it to a group of Mennonite brethren, who continue to run the farm to this day.
To stay close to my family, Dan and I have an apartment in Bellingham where we reside part time. Because of this, we qualify as ‘residents’ and are allowed to get married in Massachusetts. Others are not so lucky. A law passed in 1913 to stop inter-racial couples from coming to Massachusetts to get married is now being used to keep gay couples from other states from marrying in Massachusetts. The irony seems to be lost on Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who has stated that he doesn’t want Massachusetts to become the ‘gay marriage capital of the United States’. It’s not to far a stretch to imagine some legislator in 1913 speaking of the dangers of Massachusetts becoming the ‘miscegenation capital of the U.S.’
My Dad drove Dan and I to town hall, where we were enthusiastically congratulated by the town clerk and her assistant. As we filled out the forms necessary to get our license, she told us that Bellingham had already had quite a few same-sex couples get married.
My dad took some photos, and we went home. Even though Dan and I have been together for almost 18 years, state law requires a 3-day ‘cooling off period’. Well, we wouldn’t want to do anything impulsive!