It's not often that activism gets incorporated into the celebration of marriage. But if there is one thing that I know to be true of the new world order of same-sex couples getting married it's that our ceremonies, especially when done in a civil context, have no rules beyond the basics of vows and the pronouncement that the couple is now legally hitched. And, let's face it: when your relationship has been grounds for candidates to raise millions of dollars to defeat you, has been bantied about in the halls of the state legislature, has been placed on a statewide ballot for a thumbs up or down vote of the populace, and requires a federal judge to overturn the laws so that you can get married...well, the marriage itself becomes a politcal statement.
You can view our ceremony, beautifully captured by Diane Wilkins Productions, HERE.
There were two overriding comments that both of us kept hearing this past week as friends and family relived the moment. One was that, for many, they had more fun at our wedding than they'd had at many others (save for their own, which was only right and appropriate!) The other comment that most of our straight married friends made was that witnessing our marriage reminded them of the sacred nature of their own relationship with their spouse and how important that bond has been in their lives. Unlike our heterosexual colleagues, gay people have not lived in a world where our unions are recognized, celebrated, appreciated, and uplifted by the state and many cultural institutions. While most straight people have endured the anxiety and the butterflies in the stomach feelings on their wedding day, they were able to arrive at the occasion without the bruising battles we've encountered along the way. Recognizing that fact helped to give hope to some that this institution which has been such a political football for the past decade may, in fact, come out stronger in the end for both gay and straight people.
For me, this may be the place where God resides in the mix of excitement which has survived such a struggle. As we stood on the stage of the Warehouse before a packed room, I could feel the waves of love washing over us. Love is not only the language of God; it is the true identity of God. Love becomes the manifestation of the Holy in our midst, and I could feel that Presence gently resting on me to keep me in the moment and reminding me that this was the day of God's own making finally being allowed to burst forth from the state's prison of fear and loathing as our relationship was sanctified. To have this happen in the back room of a pool hall was also a Godly thing. For the Holy is not confined just to the churches or the gorgeous landscapes; the Holy is just as at home in the dusty corners where Love is alive and real between people. I mean, our Christian tradition teaches that Jesus was born in a stable, so why not have a wedding in a place noted for pouring the best black and tans in the city?!
Our wedding was a joyous occasion, and full of suprises;we had no idea who our bridesmaids were or how many of them there would be. In the end, fifteen people took up our invitation to dress up in a bridesmaid outfit of whatever color of the rainbow they wanted. Some marched around Tallahassee's Railroad Square in the ArtiGras parade as part of the Bondi's Banished Bridesmaid Krewe, a thumbing of the nose at our Attorney General who worked so dilligently to deny marriage equality. They were a marvelous and motley and magnificent mix of women and men striding up the center aisle to Bach's Air on G String. Both of us were tickled and touched. More reminders of Love's playful presence in our lives. My brother Tom's toast was a demonstration for this very left-leaning political crowd that conservative Republicans can be very funny and charming because they, too, are part of the Love that surrounds us. We broke lots of rules of traditional weddings (we were seen by our guests ahead of time, and our guests dove into both our wedding cake and our "Spouse Two" cake before we'd had a chance to get to them ourselves). We didn't care. The real rule of the day was accomplished: we were married. And it was good.
We're here! We're queer! We've gotten married! And the next generations will be more used to it.