Sunday, September 2, 2012

Am American Gay Wedding

Jeff and Chris say their "I do's."
So last night, Bruce and I were honored to be among the guests celebrating the nuptials of our dear friends, Chris Lopez and Jeffrey Martel. We have known the couple since they first met and couldn't have been happier to be a part of the joy, love, and happiness that was part of this special day.

The wedding had several unique things going for it. For one, the setting: groom and groom stood said their vows outdoors, within the wolf and elk habitat of Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo as their backdrop. Seeing big-tusked elk meandering about behind Jeff and Chris and the minister was a bit surreal, but somehow fitting: the wildlife setting complemented what was a very natural joining together of two people in love, committed to the other. When the ceremony paused for the classical quartet to play a lovely rendition of "Ave Maria", it seemed the wolf pack to the right of the ceremony actually paused to listen. They had been restless before and, honest to God, they all quieted and became still as the music floated out on the summer night air.

I wanted to list a bunch of other things that made this wedding unique, but you know what? I can't think of another one. And that's a good thing.

Two weeks ago, Bruce and I went to the wedding of his niece in Minnesota to her groom and the thing that struck me about these two weddings--one gay and one straight--was not their differences, but their similarities.

Jeff's nieces were the flower girls
Both were held outdoors in a gorgeous setting (our niece was married to her husband in a botanical garden), settings one might say were blessed with both temperate weather and an abundance of natural beauty. Both had a misty-eyed captive audience, united in witnessing the joining of two lives as they began their journeys together down life's highway. Both, and this one is the most important, displayed a palpable feeling of love and happiness as not only the couple getting married was swept up in the joy of the moment, but also their friends and family.

After the wedding, we headed inside for dinner, where a Grizzly bear, not three feet away in his sanctuary, watched from behind a glass wall (a heavy glass wall). We then all moved to another building for dessert and dancing (cupcakes replaced a wedding cake at this reception, which I thought was a nifty idea, one I filed away to steal later for Bruce and me, when our day comes).

At the reception, the same feeling persisted: the atmosphere of love and commitment, strong enough to be like a scent in the air.

I said to Bruce, "You know, if some of those people who opposed gay marriage could be here tonight and see all these people--friends, family, wedding party--coming together with such happiness and deep love, I think they might see this day as not something to be opposed, or hated, or feared, but exactly what it is: two people who love one another and want to make a lifelong commitment to the other and have that promise witnessed by the people they hold dear."

I'd like to believe that the folks who oppose gay marriage do it out of fear or ignorance. I'd like to think they've never had the privilege of witnessing what we saw last night--the spiritual uniting of two people. How, I wonder, could anyone be opposed to something as pure and simple--and profound--as love.

Because marriage--gay, straight--is really just about that: love. And it's not about what's between our legs, but what's between our ears...and in our hearts.

Love is love. Why on earth, or in God's name, would anyone want to deny that to their fellow man or woman? We can only be strengthened, as families, as a society, by encouraging and celebrating love and commitment.
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  1. You're right, this should definitely be shared. Thank you for posting!

  2. I wish for a day when everybody will truly be equal. How anyone can think a marriage like Jeff and Chris had will somehow destroy marriages like Bruce's niece and her husband is beyond ridiculous. How can love destroy anything?

  3. Ah, there is always a bear :)
    congratulations to the guys.

  4. "How, I wonder, could anyone be opposed to something as pure and simple—and profound—as love."

    How indeed, Rick. What a great story.

  5. What a beautiful description of what was a truly magical night for such dear friends. Very well said, Rick.

  6. Beautiful post, Rick. I respect your altruistic belief that exposure to the event would change opponents' hearts, but you rely on logic, empathy and compassion to support the belief. Unfortunately, those who oppose on the basis of prejudice are already too well insulated from logic, empathy and compassion for the experience of their target group.

    Still, the beauty of the event is carried through your words for any with a heart open enough to feel it.

    And terrific new look for your site!

  7. Lovely post, Rick. Congratulations to your friends! And indeed, love IS love.

    1. When I think of those gay couples together for over 20 years and yet unable to enjoy the simple pleasure of a wedding...

    2. For as often as you hear how gay marriage weakens straight marriage, I've yet to hear a single reason how. Now that my husband and I are hitched, I haven't seen anyone suffering because of it. I know. I've looked.

  8. Very nice post. I couldn't agree is love no matter what. Thanks for sharing this.

  9. Beautiful way to remember us what it really matter: love. Thanks for sharing this and congrats to the couples!

  10. I could not agree more with you. Thank you for sharing this lovely experience. What a gorgeous setting they chose.

    Here's to the day when we ALL can love and marry who we want without fear or ignorance.

  11. Congrats to the happy couple - may their love grow deeper still as the days turn into years. Thank you for letting us share in their special day.

  12. I echo (and this happens a lot, actually) everything NJ said, Rick. Thanks for sharing the beauty of both those weddings with us. And man, the cupcake thing was AWESOME!

  13. Sounds like it was wonderful to be there :) I agree that the sex shouldn't matter, and here in Iceland it doesn't. Everyone can get married here, as long as they're of age. I hope it'll be like that everywhere else in the future.

  14. I loved reading this. Thanks for sharing their special day with us!

  15. Lovely, Rick - I wasn't even there and I'm all teary-eyed :)

  16. Great blog!!! Absolutely correct... love is love marriage is marriage people need to take a deep breath and deal with the reality of it because it is the future & it is now. My cousin got married to her partner of 25 yrs this past weekend on the Blue Moon... Hugs, Z.