I’ve attended 2 wonderful wedding celebrations in the past month.
The first one, in September, was the wedding celebration of an old friend from Baltimore. We were law school chums, having met at the library smoking table (believe it or not, we had a smoking table on the lower level of the law school library – it was a motley group who congregated there; smoking, of course, was the common denominator). My friend and I were also older students for the day program – each of us had been out of undergrad for upwards of 10 years.
Her wedding was small – held in a courthouse in Washington. D.C., with only family members in attendance. But the next day the newlyweds held a lovely party on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where family and friends – many of whom travelled some distance – toasted the couple. It was wonderful to see my friend happy – joyous might be an even better word. It was fun dancing to the DJ’s tunes of music past – 60s and 70s rock & roll, Motown, and of course a bit of disco.
I just returned from the second wedding, held in Iowa this past weekend. My first cousin once removed was married. In this case, the couple was in their 30s, but had been together for some time – in fact, already had a family through foster parenting which turned into adoption. The 3 children – ranging from about 7 to 14 – had a integral role in the ceremony. While they participated in “hand binding” or (“hand fasting“), each of the children read part of the Apache wedding prayer blessing:
Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness,
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.
The ceremony, held in a barn in the Amana Colonies, was followed by a down-home Iowa dinner of pork, stuffing, green beans and pie. The band, Acoustic Mayhem (who also provided the wonderful music before and during the ceremony) plays traditional music, so traditional dancing followed: square dancing, Virginia Reel, and of course the ever-present chicken dance.
Both couples were surrounded by families – siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles and close friends. In the younger couple’s case, parents and grandparents attended, and there was a full complement of children – of the couple and their friends.
Both weddings were perfectly ordinary. People who attended both weddings were perfectly ordinary, hard working, responsible folks who were delighted to celebrate with their loved ones. But neither couple could have married a couple of years ago. Yep, both weddings were same-sex weddings. Iowa’s Supreme Court wisely decided in April, 2009, that sexual orientation should not be a bar to the rights, privileges (and yep, obligations) of marriage. In December, 2009, the District of Columbia voted to allow same-sex marriages in D.C.
I only wish that the opponents of marriage equality could have been to one of the celebrations. I think that those so opposed might just soften if they could be part of the delight of a couple and their family and friends. The time is long past to make marriage available to everyone.