I wish all the people who are against gay marriage could have seen the wedding we attended last weekend, between two good friends of mine. S and E have lived together nine years. They've seen each other through medical crises (brain surgery, anyone?), the serious illness of family members, world travel, and job changes. Two very different people--one impulsive and mystical, the other methodical and careful--they've been a model for me as they demonstrate how to negotiate a loving relationship.
As I struggle with the $64,000 question, "How can I be myself and be married to someone who seems at times so different, so other," they have been my inspiration. I have seen them patiently, honestly, lovingly work through conflicts that at times seemed unworkable, negotiate, and come up with elegant solutions. I have seen them both grow as individuals and evolve as a couple for nine years before this ceremony. I have witnessed their fierce commitment to keep evolving.
As E's mother remarked afterward, "I don't think there was a dry eye in the house," when they said their vows. The love was palpable. Each celebrated the kindness, compassion, strength, and playfulness the other brought to their union. I have been to many great weddings, and none better than this. Their families were also so present and accounted for; E's young nephew brought down the house when he sang a song, "which some of you may know 'cause it's from the '80s," he explained, in deference to the ancientness of many in the audience. Both sets of parents toasted and officially welcomed their new "daughter" into the family. Families like these show what kind of world could be possible, for all of us.
Also, and not incidentally--everyone was having a hell of a good time. Dancing, singing, mingling. C took about a million photos and they also had an official photographer there, so it was a well-documented fest.
If anyone wants to put this marriage up against Pam Anderson marrying the latest guy to pay her gambling debts in Las Vegas, feel free. As for me, I'm going to continue to seek wisdom and inspiration from people who have done the hard good work of learning how to communicate, how to be independent and yet intimate, honest and kind, fully themselves and also fully engaged with each other.