a Marriage Equality Play

By Peter Sinn Nachtrieb

This was first read as part of the awesome evening of Marriage Equality Plays in SF produced by Tom Bruett at the BATS theatre. Amazing talent in the room and it was a great night. You can read all the presented plays here.


1 - MAN 20s
2 - FEMALE 20S
3 - MALE 30S-40S
4 - FEMALE 30S-40S
5 - MALE 50S-60S
6 - FEMALE 50S-60S
(Fumbling entrances. The six walk out, dressed to be married. They are in front of a crowd at their respective weddings. Smiles, waves.

The pulling out of papers in different levels of elegance. Some vows are written on crumpled binder paper. Others on fine stationary. Some handwritten, some printed, perhaps one on an elegant old timey scroll.

4: To my Princess Lea.
1: My Vampire Slayer.
2: My Safeway Sheet Cake.
5: My Knight in a shining Bill Blass gown.
6: My dirty little secret no more.
3: Oh honey, you're sweating.

5: Here we are at City Hall,
2: Our favorite winery,
1: Our local Church,
6: On top of Bernal Heights,
4: In my parent's backyard,
3: The backyard of the Mix.

6: Surrounded by our family and friends,
1: Fellow soldiers and fighters,
4: Ex lovers,
2: Future babysitters,
3: My brothers and sisters,
5: And the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

1: I can't believe how long we have known each other.
6: 35 years!
5: 32 years?
4: 10 years.
3: Are we counting from the first date or the hookup?
2: 1 whole week!

4: Since I met you at the Oprah taping,
2: In the line at Tartine,
5: The Act Up meeting,
1: the Endup dance floor,
3: That straight wedding of I can't remember who,
6: Craigslist.

3: We've been through so much together:
2: The ups and down of our families and careers,
6: Wars, terror, booms, busts, Bush,
4: Cancer, Shingles,
1: Yoga injuries,
5: The closing of the Eagle.

3: Your P.H.D.
4: Your pregnancy,
2: Your depression,
1: Your crazy period,
5: Your skinny period,
6: So many periods.

2: And, now, here we are getting married!
3: Hitched!
6: LifePartnered!
1: Significantly Othered!
4: Domesticated!
5: Civilly United!
2: Legally Bonded!
3: Committed but open!
6: Registered!
1: Sealed!
4: United in the eyes of the lord!
5: Assimilated into the mainstream!

4: I am so excited for your health and life insurance,
3: To file our taxes jointly,
2: To go to your office holiday party as your wife,
1: To change my relationship status on Facebook,
5: To still call you husband like I already had,
6: I am so excited for our presents. We invited so many people to this. We're going to get some amazing presents.
(A slight shift)
2: In honor of you,
1: Of our long life together,
6: Of the long life we've already had together
3: This is what I promise,
4: This is what I want to give,
5: I think I can handle the following,

Here are my vows:
(They all clear their throats)
2: I vow to treat you with more respect than you have ever received in your life.
5: I vow to go to the Opera with you and stay for at least 2 acts.
4: I vow to try to like your pets.
3: I vow to try to like your friends from college.
6: I vow to ignore the fact that you're a Republican.
1: I vow to try bottoming at least once a year.

3: I vow to get your permission before I borrow your shirts.
2: Your dresses,
1: Your pants,
5: Your pants or dresses,
4: Your fancy shampoo,
6: Your Xanax.

4: I vow to never behave like anyone on The L Word.
3: To never settle for two double beds in a hotel when we deserve a queen.
2: To never assign traditional gender roles to our relationship even if I am a bit more butch than you.
6: To never swear in front of your parents or kids.
5: To delete my profile on Grindr
1: To never call you a bitch except in bed.

5: I vow not to judge your past.
4: Your multiple boyfriends and girlfriends
3: Your addictions
2: Your being born again.
1: Your internalized self-hatred
6: Your career in porn.

1: I vow that marriage begins an even more exciting chapter of our sex life.
6: I vow to explore and discover delicious new modes of pleasure that celebrate our particular set of protrusions and orifices, natural and/or purchased.
3: I promise never to cheat on you. Except, as discussed, when I'm in a different time zone or on a business trip.
5: I vow to respect your preference to sleep on weeknights.
3: And I vow to always disclose any such casual encounter, in vague terms, and will always use a condom.
2: I vow to do that thing to your feet that kinda grosses me out but drives you nuts, so long as you vow to shower.
3: I also vow to never have sex with someone in our immediate social circle. Unless it's a threeway and we're all actively participating and you're totally cool with it.
4: I vow to be so monogamous I will not even have close friends.

6: I vow to love your family as though they were my own.
2: To try and love my own family as much as I love yours.
1: To laugh at your Dad's jokes except when they're racist.
4: To massage your back, play your favorite Imogen Heap album and make you beef stroganoff every time you have one of "those" phone calls with your folks.
3: To never to ask your Uncle Toby about his time in the Peace Corp ever again.
5: I know your friends are your true family and I vow to always keep our door open to your family as you do to mine.

1: I vow to be a good parent for our child.
2: Our adopted child,
5: Our foster children,
6: The children from your previous marriage,
4: I will love the baby that comes from you as much as the one that comes from me,
3: God I wish we could just shake our sperm up together in a syringe and never know whose it is for sure.

4: I vow to defend your honor,
5: To never stand up for prejudice and hatred,
3: To be visible and proud,
1: To hold your hand and wear your ring at every Chili's in the 'burbs
6: Every Giants and Niners game.
2: And I vow to get in the face of every motherfucker at the Home Depot that makes a comment. I will get so deep into their personal space that I will cause psychic trauma to their hateful soul. If it's not possible to have a teaching moment, I vow at least to freak their ass out.

6: I've loved growing old with you.
2: I will love growing old with you.
1: Even when we get ancient, deep into our 30's.
4: I will savor every wrinkle, every sag, every new inch of paunch as much as I will relish in our growing collective wisdom.
3: I will join you in every diet, "boot camp," supplement, hobby and questionable fashion choice as together we bravely struggle to maintain our youth in age.
5: I vow to contain my urge to run to Badlands and hit on twinks.

3: When you are sick, I vow to watch Terms of Endearment, Pretty Woman, Steel Magnolias, and even Beaches as many times as you want.
2: I will make sure you keep on schedule with your medications because I know I'm better at remembering those things than you are.
1: I will clean your ass when the time comes. God knows that ass has done so much for me, it's the least I can do.
4: I will be at your bedside when you're in the hospital. I will make the calls and updates to your family. I will sleep in the chair.
5: I will make the hard decisions when you can't.
6: I won't leave you for someone else, but I might go out and get drunk.
(longer bits)
I promise that in the next month that I will tell my parents that I am gay. That I am married. That we will soon be having a child together. I will introduce you to them, and I think you might actually like them. And they'll like you, because you are all good people. I promise to do all this in gradual increments and in a public space.

I promise that we will never have to be role models. We do not have to be better than any other married couple. We can be as complicated and difficult. We can have sordid lives, ungodly habits, and reprehensible morals and still love each other more than anything else in this world. Fuck the pedestal.

I fell in love with you when you were a woman. And I have fallen even deeper as you become a man, as your outside matches your inside and you are more you than you've ever been. It has been a wondrous thing to witness. And, despite a few crises and panics along the way, I have become more me. I like discovering things with you. I hope we keep doing that.

I know we just met a week ago. I know this is irrational and crazy and might not last and that we're getting married by a man dressed up as Diana Ross on Steroids. But you set me on fire in so many ways, and it is an honor to be blindly running into a life-changing decision just like straight people do. It just feels really good to be able to make this mistake with you.

We are going to buy a house in the suburbs. We are going to be the wonderful parents to a whole bunch of kids. We are going to do our best to support their dreams and never forget ours. We are going to balance life and work and our group and individual dreams. We are going to have family trips to Disneyworld. We are going to go on a cruise. Not a gay cruise. A cruise.

I'm still not sure we should do this. I still don't see why it's important to be married with the proper paperwork. We were already married in my eyes. But I gotta say, this party is pretty nice. I forgot how many friends we had. And to see your parents and mine sitting there, all dressed up, tears in their eyes, tears in your eyes. I think your mom is tipsy already. And you look pretty great. And so do I. I lost fifteen pounds for today. I don't believe in marriage and yet I lost weight to do it.
1: All this I vow,
4: And more to be determined or revised,
3: I am yours till the bitter end,
2: Till we rot into our chairs,
5: Till death do us part,
6: I hope I die first.

2: Look at you.
3: Look at us.
6: I'm trying really hard to not cry right now.
4: I love you.
5: I love you so much.
1: I want to jump your bones right now.

3: This day means everything to me,
5: You mean everything to me,
2: This ceremony,
6: This civil right,
1: And all of it with you,
4: I hope I remember it tomorrow.

5: It has been a crazy journey with you, my love,
6: I hope for a future as wild as our past.
3: I can hardly wait for our first married fight,
4: Our first reconciliation,
1: Our newest jokes,
2: Those shocks and surprises that we both must tackle.

6: We may not be the most awesomely perfect couple in the world.
2: Actually we are probably the most awesomely perfect couple in the world.
3: Either way I don't care.
1: Cause it's you.
4: And me.
5: You and me.

2: And we are forging forward together,
4: Clawing for a bit of happiness in this crazy world,
1: Ready to make mistakes along the way,
3: And we are now accountable,
5: For eternity. Ish.
6: And frankly, "sanctity" can kiss my ass.

2: Together
4: Together
1: Together
3: Together
5: Together
6: We are in this -


Creative Commons License
Vows by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. **

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