You can get married…now what?

The other day, Ben said to me, “Just so you know, if you asked me to marry you, I would say yes.”  I said, “ok” and continued to play Words with Friends. 

I’m sure it wasn’t the reaction that he was looking for, and I’m also sure I’ve had more graceful moments in our relationship. But the fact that we would get married, when we could, was understood to me. That’s what people do right, especially when they’ve been together so long? Having to rationalize that thought helped me understand the pressure my straight friends talked about when they were two or three years into their relationships. On top of that stress, I see stats claiming 40-50% of first marriages and 60% of second marriages end in divorce. The first phrase that immediately comes to mind is “be careful what you wish for.”

In our situation, it’s my fault we haven’t had some sort of ceremony yet.We have committed our lives to each other the best we could up to this point. We’ve comingled our finances, registered with the state for a domestic partnership so I can be on Ben’s insurance, and completed will, trust, and life insurance documents for our estate plans. My big hang up with having a ceremony was that it seemed arbitrary; it didn’t confer any legal rights, benefits, or protections from the government. So what’s the point? (Statements like that are why Ben sometimes tells people I’m a robot.)

Now that Ben and I can run off to Iowa or Minnesota to get married and gain access to all of the federal benefits and protections associated with that marriage, we have to decide what to do. Do we move to a state where we can get both federal and state rights? Do we head over to Iowa or Minnesota to get married and enter into a Civil Union in Illinois? Do we just wait on Illinois to get its act together?

What would you do if you were in our situation?