GAY MARRIAGE: "A marriage, by any other name..."
I'm attending my first gay wedding today. I'm attending my first same-sex wedding today. I'm attending my first homosexual wedding today. What is the politically correct term for such a wedding? Who cares? Frankly, I don't understand the furor and uproar over same-sex marriages. I'm at the wedding of two women who have been together for thirty-three years.
As our breathtakingly beautiful daughter hands out programs in the rear of the church and our twenty-year-old son sits alone in a front pew waiting to sing for these two women in his rich bass voice, I sit on the truly uncomfortable pew in the austere little Congregational church, next to Jim, my one-and-only husband of twenty-eight years, and think about our marriage and this man.
He hates celery and he calls me "Wifely." He made me whole again after our first baby miscarried. He usually gets in bed first and every night when I go in the bathroom to wash my face, my toothbrush sits next to the sink, topped with a minty white line of toothpaste - waiting for me. It's there every morning, too.
As we prepared for the impending birth of our son, who is now, incredibly, six feet five inches tall, our midwife gave Jim two jobs to fulfill during our forty-five minute drive to the hospital: Keep the car warm, for it was bitterly cold that January, and get to the hospital quickly. I had read somewhere that drinking a quart of whole milk at the onset of contractions lessened labor pain. So, I dutifully guzzled the milk as my body went into automatic pilot with a course set for childbirth, and just seemed to go along for the ride. Jim took the midwife's directions to heart. He cranked up the heat and zipped down pot-holey Connecticut back roads I never knew existed. All the while, the quart of milk sloshed and bubbled until finally, like a human Mount Vesuvius, I erupted and threw up cottage cheese consistency clumps of milk all over myself and the floor of the car. Jim drove along in the eighty-five degree car while I was astonished and kept repeating the obvious question, "Isn't that the smelliest barf you've ever smelled?" I told him to pull over while I chucked the pukey floor mat out the car door. He never complained and he insisted he couldn't smell a thing, which I knew was a big fat lie.
My attention returns to the front of the church as our son begins to sing. The mood changes as he smiles at the women and the spotlight moves briefly from them to him. The women, one a social worker and the other a successful businesswoman, prepare to exchange their vows. They have been together for thirty-three years. They have crow's feet, graying hair, anxious smiles and they appear nervous. They face each other, holding hands and say "You have been the steadiness that has kept me on an even keel over the years, and for this I love you dearly" and "I am a far better person because of you and love you more than ever."
Wedding rings, the same rings they've worn for years are 're-exchanged.' The Congregational minister offers the following blessing: "May your lives together be joyful and content, and may your love be as bright as the stars, as warm as the sun, vast as the ocean and as enduring as the mountains."
How is this wedding different from any other? To me, marriage has nothing to do with religion or God; it's about stuff like the waiting toothbrush and the clumpy throw-up. Why should anyone be denied such love because of gender?
Same-sex marriages might make some people uncomfortable, but they can't hurt anyone. Are people afraid that gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall?
Guests are teary, rice is thrown and we all walk down the country road to an evening reception at the home of the women.
I attended a wedding today.
More from living