The Paper No Longer Required

Thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision last Friday requiring marriage equality in all 50 states, I can throw this piece of paper away. Just in time, too, since it’s falling apart.

I’ve been carrying it in my wallet for 27 years. Melissa had one as well, but after running her wallet through the washing machine one too many times, her piece of paper disintegrated a few years ago.

The papers we both carried were legal documents: Medical Authorization and Power of Attorney. Because we were not legally married, we did not have the ability to make medical decisions for each other in the case of an emergency. ..

I hereby appoint Melissa…to make all decisions of my behalf regarding my medical condition…

Not only could we not make decisions for each other, but we could be denied access to each other in the hospital. The thought of Melissa—or me—being hurt  and in the hospital, and unable to be together terrified me.

…To give Melissa first priority in visitation in the event I am confined in a medical or custodial institution and am unable to express a preference…


So we’ve carried these legal documents, changing the contact information every time we moved.

It’s such a relief to think that I can now walk into a hospital in any state, announce that I am Melissa’s wife, and be allowed to see her.


But do they ask for proof? Do straight couples carry around wallet-sized copies of their marriage certificate? 🙂

Can I just say ‘I’m her wife’ and be believed?

Hmmm. Talk about an undiscovered country… Got a lot to learn…

4 thoughts on “The Paper No Longer Required

  1. Neither my husband nor I have ever had to show ID when identifying ourselves as the spouse. I would hope you don’t have to, either!

  2. I know it seems like, after running a farm together, it’s not possible to get more married.

    That’s just what I thought when Brent and I finally headed to the county office to “do the paperwork” as we called it after seven years together, three years of it running a berry farm and a total of four household moves.

    And yet, in that silly chapel in front of the deputy county registrar for civil marriage, something did happen. And we were more married afterward.

    It’s subtle, but it was there.

    It’s possible that you and Melissa couldn’t be any more married, but I wouldn’t necessarily count on it.

    And being able to go back home and come back with that piece of paper just in case someone at the hospital is being paleolithic – that is something.

  3. Just ran into Your book, thank You for the laugh, loved it 🙂 We are two guys from Hungary with sheep for milk, and of course large bags of wool as byproduct with only hope, to have time for that at some point, with no paper, but six long years together in mud, muck, blood and placenta, anyway, best wishes!

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