Are you married to a man or woman?

[ 4 ] Comments

by Nick Galieti

I travel quite a bit with my job which affords me many opportunities for exposure to people from all over the United States as well as other countries. I wear a wedding ring which historically has been an indication that a person is married, or at least wants to appear married. On a recent flight from Salt Lake City to Hawaii I sat next to a woman that identified herself as a life long Utahan, specifically from the Logan/Cache Valley area of Utah. Our flight had a slight delay in take off so we started engaging in conversation about home towns, past travels, and our families.

At a particular point in the conversation this woman asked me, “I see (pointing at my wedding ring) that you are married.”

“Yep.” I said with a hint of pride.

She hesitantly and gently asked, “To a man or woman?”

“Excuse me?” I responded wondering if I heard her question correctly.

“Well, you never know these days and I don’t want to assume and offend someone.”

I suppose the context of this goes to the fact that in the last couple of weeks before this conversation a Federal appeals court struct down the ban on gay marriage in the State of Utah. So, in her defense it was a legally legitimate question as the possibility is live for same sex marriage even in Utah.

However, that was the first time I had ever been asked to clarify wether I was married a man or woman. I have thought about it since and while I didn’t feel that this persons question was ill-intentioned, I wonder if that is a question that is socially acceptable to ask?

So in a generic way I pose that question to you the reader of this article? Is that socially acceptable to ask? Is such a question similar to asking “so who do you have sex with?” Or is it simply just decent curiosity to know more about the person with whom they are conversing.”

4 Responses to Are you married to a man or woman?

  1. It feels similar to, “are you done having kids?”

  2. Juliathepoet says:

    I think that’s one of the better ways to chose the question.

    I moved from Oregon to Alaska last December, so my husband and I could go back to school. Oregon beat Alaska to marriage equality by a few months, but marriage licenses are now available for same sex couples.

    I have to admit that I couldn’t stop laughing after overhearing an LDS student in one of my classes complain about her brother “stealing her moment” by marrying his husband on Halloween, which is when her boyfriend had planned to propose, and now they might have to wait for Thanksgiving to get engaged.

  3. Ann says:

    I think if you ask that question sooner or later you will ask it of somone who will be highly indignant that you would imply they might be gay. I would prefer to listen for clues in the conversation, it is more polite to wait for someone to volunteer information about themelves that to outright interrogate them. That is just rude.

  4. emily says:

    Maybe it would just make it easier for straight marrieds to wear their ring on their traditional left hand and gay marrieds to wear it on the right, then you’d just know and not make any faulty and embarrassing assumptions.

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