I committed my first act as a Notary Public this weekend by serving as the celebrant at the wedding of my friends, Beatrice and Dennis. The couple didn't want a long ceremony, and really preferred to keep the "ceremony" part on point, and simple, so they could enjoy the company of the close friends and relatives they invited as witnesses.
So a brief explanation of the occassion, a couple of questions and repeat-after-me's, rings exchanged, and then the phrase my buddy the bride really wanted me to say:
"Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder."
This was the only mention of God in our intimate ceremony. Neither of my friends are particularly religious, but they are also not hostile to God. And it seemed fitting to keep this as part of the ceremony. Because even if I am not a priest, and wasn't invoking the name of God during the vows or the exchange of rings, God's presence was very much there with us in the room. And the presence of God came in the form of the love and tenderness Dennis and Beatrice have shown to each other, and the support of the community of friends and family who were with them for their wedding day. Any time love is as palpable as it was at the moment I laid my hand on theirs and said those words, God is also there.
Many, including me, have noted the irony of having me perform this ceremony. I'm a lesbian in Florida who is granted the power by the state to marry people...and yet I am now constitutionally-prohibited from marrying my own partner. I wondered how much this would weigh on my mind as I asked my friends to pledge their love, honor and respect for each other until death did them part. It didn't enter my head at all. Because this ceremony wasn't about me. I was touched and honored to be the one they asked to perform this rite for them; hence my thoughts were not for myself and my predicament here in the Overcast State. Instead, I was joyful that I could play a big part at this important time in their relationship. Especially, since Beatrice and I have known each other for so long, and have been friends who have bonded over cups of tea, and the desire to be authentically who we are. No moment could have been more authentic than this one.
My own wedding day will come, I'm sure. Maybe not tomorrow, and it may not arrive in Florida for quite some time. But it is coming. Because I believe when God brings people together, there is no one...no state, no church, no synagogue...that can keep love down no matter the gender of the two people.
Now, I simply toast my dear friends, and desire for them a life of hope and happiness with each other. And may they enjoy their honeymoon in the aisles of Lowe's and Home Depot! :-)