Saturday, June 4, 2011
To the Courthouse, Peggy and National Donut Day
As some of you know, the process for applying for Domestic Partnership in Lane County is not the same as getting a Wedding License. It does happen at the same office, however. We printed the form off from the web site (as directed on legal paper) and filled it out, we then took it to our bank where we signed it and had it notarized. Most banks will do it for free for account holders, but we found out after the fact that our good friend (a marvelously genial gay man is a notary too). Anticipating trouble (and honestly, what person facing government bureaucracy wouldn't?), we had a folder full of our birth certificates, passports, divorce papers and anything else we thought we might need to show in order to appease discerning bureaucrats.
The two women sitting at the information desk never moved, but sat stern and plump with arms crossed when we asked where to go for a Domestic Partnership: "Deeds and Records, through those doors" one squawked without so much as a smile or a nod. Fortunately the other one swung her eyes toward the sign so we could at least see which doors to go through and which direction to head. The first sign we saw as we looked down the hall said "Marriage Licenses" under Records and Deeds and I typically started to mumble about unfairness. Teri pointed out that it did say "Domestic Partnership Registration" at the very bottom in an attached, swinging sign (but I still maintain it was a smaller sized font!). We each took a breath and waltzed in.
As I set our fat folder down on the counter, a smiling woman came over to us: "Hi Teri!" she said beaming. While I had an instantaneous wonder that this might be an old flame, turned out that she and Teri used to work out at the same gym. Just for the record, Peggy was great (and straight.) She was warm and friendly and completely efficient. While I don't think she belongs in that low-ceilinged cement room at the Court House, I was grateful to have her guide us through! Amidst catching up and gym culture recollections, she informed us that while we had printed the form off on the right size paper, it was a little off in comparison to the form the state prints and that it might not be acceptable. About a half-inch lower printing the bottom section. Seriously? I asked, braced for a protest, a rally and cries of homophobia. Peggy smiled: "Let me put in a call and see if we can get pre-approval." Lesson to those who come after: while it says on the web site to print off the form and you might think that is the only option--it is not. Go down to the Clerk's office and pick up one of their forms to fill out.
Voodoo Donuts to celebrate after and commemorate National Donut Day so we decided to walk the two blocks and have a donut mid-filing instead. Teri's idea since I was ready to call PFLAG. The mantra: It was going to be just fine.
I normally get a small coconut-covered chocolate cake donut when we make the trek to Voodoo, but I was feeling a bit more, uh, intense--so I ordered up the Voodoo doll. For those who have never been to Portland/Eugene--Voodoo Donuts is a quirky and popular local romp whose slogan is "The Magic is in the Hole." Teri pointed out that at least my donut was smiling, but I felt a strange satisfaction in pulling out the pretzel stick that was impaled on his little
Donuts finished (Teri had a Buttermilk Bear), we walked back through the sunshine, past the fountain with the leaping metal trout and the homeless people chatting on the warm steps. When we waltzed back into the Deeds and Records office--reinforced with sugared determination--Peggy greeted us with "Good News!" I felt a regretful pang at that moment that we hadn't brought Peggy a donut too.
The forms were a go, she entered everything into the computer, we paid our money and we got a certificate to use for the ceremony. Teri did comment that it seemed questionable that we have to pay the same amount for a Domestic Partnership as hets while we only get maybe half the benefits (and none from a legal level) and I asked what was going to happen when Civil Marriage eventually became legal? Would our status transfer or would we need to get married again? Peggy was a trouper and agreed that it seemed a bit unfair to pay the same for less and expressed her optimistic hope that yes, our commitment would transfer. She even offered to take our photo with both our camera and a cell phone and she was the first to wish us a warm congratulations.
In the end, the legal part is done. Teri and I think of it as our pre-Wedding elopement. It was the private, personal part of our process that we wanted to keep to ourselves until AFTER it was done. Now it is on to the ceremony and the celebration!
Teri calling her twin sister, Pixi, to tell her the news...