Saturday, August 11, 2012

Personal and Political in My Living Room


I solemnized my fifth marriage yesterday. Help me, Jesus (or pick your own), I love this. As I age, the tenderness, emotion and pleasure at such events only increases.

Yesterday's marriage was of a childhood friend, a sandbox buddy, and his long-time partner. In many ways, that's not at all remarkable, even as they are two men. After all, that's normal and legal in a marriage-equality state.

From another angle, the grooms live in Florida. They returned this afternoon and when they deplane their state won't recognize their marriage. They'll be dependent on the whims and largess of employers for the rights and privileges all we other married sorts simply expect and get.

Monday, I'll file their license with my solemnization certificate in Boston's City Hall. I'll get and mail them an official copy of their proof of marriage. I also have made copies of the marriage license and certificate, which disappear into the city file forever. They'll get a package of the trappings and tracings.

Neither Charles nor Karl is all that political. Of course, as educated adults as well as gay men and as baby boomers who grew up hearing about equal rights and fairness, they are aware of the irrational disparities. Their state is one of many along with our shared federal government that openly discriminates by sexual orientation in matters such as marriage with related benefits or lack thereof.

Yesterday's wedding and related party had little emphasis on politics. As the officiant, I even stifled myself. After all, Charles and I go back to the sandbox in a tiny town in West Virginia. This was his and Karl's day.

In corners of the living and dining rooms, John Hosty-Grinnell, the equality activist, and I did discuss the Dark Side (like Mass Family Institute), and likely advances assuming an Obama reelection. However, he and his husband Ray were gracious enough to join me in being celebrants and not polemicists.

Charles and Karl were here for the week. Among the museums, ferries, bars and T trips, we did muse on such as where they'd be legally married afterward. Well, there's Iowa, the other states and D.C. that have SSM, plus Rhode Island that has comity with our marriages. There are some European countries.

Grumble...grunt...lesbians and gay men are not forcing anything on any jurisdiction. However, it seems grossly unfair that a legal Massachusetts marriage has no standing in Florida or there or there or there.

I think of the five marriages I've officiated:

  • Straight couple, she a long-term friend
  • Gay couple, one back to college days
  • Eldest son and his fiancĂ©e
  • Friend's 20-something daughter and her beau
  • Charles and Karl

I found these very moving, each in its own way. I like to say that my marriages last. In fact, I told the young couple last December that I expected them to make their union a good one. I don't see why anyone would think much less act on the idea that a same-sex marriage is any less worthy.

I held in my politics yesterday. It was a splendid moment not made for rants or self-righteousness. Even knowing that as a moderately socially retarded nation, we are headed inexorably toward marriage equality, I remain impatient.

Why should a couple who has lived together in effect as married for decades be denied the recognition? Who do we tweak a nation where ordinary folk as well as celebrities act badly in relationships while such a devoted couple do not get equal rights? These men are faithful, loving spouses, We recognize that allow that in Massachusetts. Get with the program, America!

I'm quick to admit marriage is not right for many. Lord knows, many pols, but particularly right wingers, are sluts, ill suited for such essentials as fidelity. Yet, I think the five I've performed as well as my own are. I know the young couple the least well, but even they seems already quite devoted.

The guests in the living room yesterday, from the pair of 18 year olds through the boomers had a grand time in a very normal and happy ceremony. Here were two men who were deeply in love as they have been for decades. What could possibly be wrong with that?

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