Sunday, November 21, 2010
We Attended Our First Gay Wedding
We attended our first same sex wedding on Saturday. The ceremony was full of love and commitment as the two men exchanged solemn vows that are legally binding in our state—Iowa. There were tears of joy, singing, and prayer, just as you would find at any wedding. The couple exchanged rings and conducted a lovely “sand ceremony” to symbolize the joining of their lives.
The hundred plus guests burst into applause when the groom’s brother spoke about how proud he was to live in a state that legalized gay marriage during his toast. The groom’s father’s emotions of pride, joy, and love broke through as he toasted the couple.
The couple’s first dance included a slide show of the three years of their life leading up to this moment—vacations, family and friends, remodeling projects, pets. The wedding photographer captured the first dance and many other moments throughout the ceremony, dinner, and reception.
I am in awe of the courage and bravery of these two men. Marriage, in itself, is an act of courage. To commit yourself to one person for a lifetime and to make decisions daily to uphold that commitment and relationship requires maturity, perseverance, and love. As a couple, they have agreed to that level of commitment—publically. These two men demonstrated grace, resolve, courage, and love as they vowed to each other to be married. I am so proud of both of them!
I am also proud of all the other male guests. The “straight” male guests had to be very comfortable with their own sexuality to attend this function. There was no room for uncomfortableness in this setting and the love and support shown by the “straight” male guests was evident. I watched my husband hug both grooms as we proceeded through the receiving line.
I visited with one of the “gay” male guests during the reception. For him, the evening, the event itself, was reaffirming.
Gay marriage in Iowa has been legal since April 24, 2009. When one of the grooms phoned me to tell me about the upcoming nuptials, I was thrilled. He was experiencing the normal wedding jitters, plus the fear and trepidations of potential stigma (even retaliation) of being a gay married man. My response, “People who know and love you, want you to be happy.”
Isn’t that what it’s really about? When we set aside fear, we find love, happiness, and acceptance. And, the wedding, dinner, and reception were downright fun!