Two different weddings, one common perspective

I’ve been to two different weddings in the past month.

One was a traditional wedding: Bride and groom, church, reception, dinner, dancing, etc. etc.

The other was a gay wedding: Groom and groom, non-denominational minister, held outdoors at a museum, reception, dinner, dancing, etc. etc.

Both were decidedly called “weddings.” There were rings and vows. There were promises made to each other and to their families and friends. There was advice from each of the ministers on how to make their love survive in this world.

I attended the gay wedding as a member of the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus. We sang during the ceremony and left afterward. I knew the groom — ok, groom #1– because he used to sing with us. It was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art– a very fancy affair, but with an air of casualness. Both grooms wore modest suits, not tuxes. And the minister was fabulous– a big swath of blonde hair and a bigger personality. The ceremony didn’t mention religion, God or Jesus once. It was purely about love and how true love is a challenge that not only the couple has to face, but all of us. It was completely inspirational and beautiful, without being too over-the-top or in-your-face about anything. Best of all, it was short and sweet. I just wish I got to stay afterward for the big party.

I attended the traditional wedding this past weekend in Michigan. The bride is a co-worker of mine, and I’ve heard so much about her wedding plans (she sat across the hall from me) that I felt like I was co-contributer to her plans. And although it was a far drive for a wedding, I didn’t mind. The ceremony was decidedly more religious, but also short, sweet and to the point. Again the celebrant had words of advice for the couple and his words were quite inspirational. It was a lovely affair overall (though the use of the organ was a little dirge-y for my taste).

The reception, however, was amazing. It was held at a country club, overlooking the grounds in all of their autumnal splendor. The room was beautiful, modestly decorated, and full of people ready to celebrate the big event. And celebrate we did. I actually had fun.

Which brings me to the next point about all of this. When I returned home, I had a chat with someone about my weekend activities and he asked me, “Don’t you feel like you’re being cheated when you go to their weddings?”

I thought about this for a second and said, “No.”

He retorted and said “But… we can’t get married.”

“Yes,” I replied. “I am fully aware of that.” We went back and forth a few times on this, and I then informed him I would be writing a blog post about this soon, so hopefully he’s reading this now.

I am fully aware of the marriage fight being waged on behalf of GLBT people. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to celebrate with those who choose to marry.

In my eyes, we can celebrate a union any way we wish. If that means getting married in a church– fine, go ahead. Find a church that is open to gay weddings and do it. If that means professing your love in front of family and friends, without a minister or a judge to make it ‘legal,” fine.

How we choose to do it is completely up to us. It would be nice if we could get the same thing as everyone else, but in my eyes, I don’t need the ‘blessing’ of a church or a government seal of approval to celebrate that union.

I realize this goes against popular opinion on both sides of the debate, but that is simply how I feel.

Love is a personal and extremely powerful thing. No certificate; no seal of approval is going to change that feeling.

I do want to state that I believe the fight for marriage equality is worth fighting. But to close ourselves off from the supposed “enemy” (straight couples) in the fight for equality is completely absurd. Straight couples are not the enemy in this war. Refusing to attend a wedding on the simple basis that “because I can’t get married, I can’t celebrate your marriage” is being bull-headed and stupid.

Grow up, people. We’re all in this together. If we can’t be supportive of each other, how can we expect them to be supportive of us?

Naturally, I don’t have anything to lose or gain in this fight at the moment anyway. I don’t have anyone to marry, and I certainly don’t have anyone waiting in the wings.

But if I did, and I found myself ready to commit myself to him for the rest of my life; I would do it… whether or not a church or our government decides it’s legal or “right” to do so. Because in my eyes, it’s right. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s all that matters.

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