This Memorial Day weekend my regular priest was off with some GW students running around Rome so we had the former Anglican priest. Also the crowd was light, and the regular people who take the collection were not there as well, so I and my Protestant husband decided we would take the collection. Because I normally am not the lead I was trying to figure out at what point in the mass do we walk up and walk our way back taking collection, and we had a 8 mo baby with us, I really wasn't listening closely to the homily.
It didn't help that the priest didn't seem to have his microphone on, but the topic was marriage. I accept and hold the Church's teaching on marriage. I am aware that another parishioner struggles with this teaching, and he and his non-Catholic partner/spouse were in attendance. So I was slightly concerned about them, in between searching on line to figure out when were we supposed to collect the money (I don't pay attention, I just know it comes at the end of the prayers of the people). After taking communion I patted his shoulder to sort of relay, 'hey, I want you to stick around and keep on struggling.'
Because people like to coo over our baby son, and apparently taking the collection with a baby strapped to you is a huge hit, we didn't catch up to the other parishioner and his spouse until we spotted them in the self-checkout. Because they were nearly done and we were just about to start the conversation was very short. My fellow parishioner's spouse said he was asleep during the homily. So it's a non-issue for him. However the parishioner was awake, and they sit close enough to hear an acoustic priest, and he was very sure that the priest was incorrect in stating that cohabiting couples pretend that they are married. My husband and I both strongly disagreed. I have observed it with straight and gay cohabiting couples refer to their partner/boyfriend as their husband. My elder abusing sister in law did it with her baby daddy and numerous gay couples, or one part of the couple, have named their partner as 'husband'. He then responded about something regarding the city's laws regarding common law marriage.
Our conversation didn't last long. Both men were dealing with health challenges and needed to get home. I expect to see one or both next week or the week after that. I appreciate knowing them, even though one of them seems to trap you in conversation.
But on the topic of marriage, apparently common law marriage and getting legal recognition is tricky and not something you fall into. Marriage is also different than shacking up.