Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Time to Make the Marriage

Yes, yes, yes, I am Mike Ball, but I'm a.k.a. massmarrier. That is, this blog sprung coming up on eight years ago from a double marriage-per-Massachusetts catalyst. Long-term friends asked me to solemnize their coupling at the same time the commonwealth's highest court was deciding whether marriage equality was the law here.

Now I'm still about the business of marrying folk. That's a bit of a pun, as I am a long term monogamous guy. I'm no Newt or Big Dog Clinton. No one puts asunder in our house.

Next month will mark solemnization number four. A buddy from several years back asked me to do the theater and signature for his eldest daughter. That will happen right after Christmas.

Originally, I'd figured to go one a year. First it was Kay and Paul, she I'd known long and well, socially and in church service. She'd followed me immediately chairing first Personnel when it meant figurative heads on the ground, job descriptions, and battles over benefits and salaries and then the Prudential Committee (the board). We'd fought far too many skirmishes and major battles not to be friends. She was also the one who knew that ordinary, non-ordained folk could perform marriages here, so long as you petitioned the governor's office.

The next year, Jasper, a much longer term friend, yea, back from college days in South Carolina, asked whether I would marry him and his partner Jay. We attended their civil ceremony in New Hampshire the previous year, before same-sex marriage was in place here. Like so many long-partnered homosexual couples, they wanted, well, equality in the form of marriage.

Next was the long spell. I tried to lure sandbox buddy Charles from Florida. He and partner Karl have been together almost as long as Cindy and I. Of course, a Massachusetts marriage means nothing to the satraps of Florida, but they intend to come here and have me solemnize their union as well.

Forget the dreadful, hateful lies of the self-styled pro-marriage/pro-family wingers. We who actually are pro-marriage and pro-family believe in the legal union for those committed to each other. We thus have to believe in marriage equality.

In the middle, I figured I was out of the marriage business. That in itself is a funny term. Of course, I charge no one. In fact, I pay the $25 application fee for the one-day designation of solemnization myself. It is well worth it to me.

However, my almost-32-year-old firstborn surprised us by asking me to solemnize his marriage this June. Of course, that's a good surprise that a parent likes, officiating at Aaron and Jessica's wedding. In contrast, I know from others there are the surprises of "You ruined my life. I never want to hear from you again," or "It's a felony charge. They want $50,000 cash bail."

The fourth marriage will be next month and the fifth sometime next year. That's not exactly on track for even an avocation. However, a long-time friend who's a minister has more than once called my one-day solemnizations "poaching." He holds that doing weddings is an important income supplement for clerics. He doesn't like the MA law, recently copied by CA, that allows plain folk to pronounce the couple married and sign the license making it legal.

I do. I recommend it.

Performing the marriages of friends or even of friends' children is an emotional rush. I think it might be a wee version of what an OB feels delivering babies.

I was in on the birth of my three, catching all, and doing the final one solo as the nurses and midwives were across the room chatting, not realizing it was showtime. While I have to say I was more involved and fulfilled by delivering my sons, I was deeply moved by the three marriages I've already done. Those are over a lot faster than labor and they are a lot less physically messy, but they too are quite a bit of fun and make you feel a part of something important.

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