Marriage means so many things. Many people enter into marriage as an extension of their religious beliefs. Other do it, in order for the state to legitimize their relationship. Marriage in modern American culture and civics affords couples certain legal rights, prescribe the passage of real property, children, hospital visitation and taxation. Even medical insurance is offered to married couples differently than cohabiting couples.
In many cultures, when a couple marries, either the man or woman, leave his or her family of origin and join the household of the other. We see this still strongly upheld in Indian, Asian and Middle Eastern families. In many cases, the new couple reside with the parents or in some cases the parents move in with the new couple.
Modern marriages may be a mix of all of these practices. Take H and I, we had a very traditional Catholic wedding, but had privately made our own very personal and private agreements. We had no control over our vows, they were totally prescribed by the church as was the music and flow of the service. (While I had very good reasons for following that path then, I wouldn't do it that way today... I would today hold out to do it our way!)
H and I have, as a married couple, revisited and adjusted our agreements as we as individuals and a couple grown.
Marriage is a journey. It is a building of a family of choice. It is creating and bonding and making something bigger than the individuals coming together. In many cases this describes any relationship. Marriage is special, because as a culture we have woven it together with so much. Our culture has developed around the idea of couples as a key building block of families and communities.
To deny the right to marry, to all Americans, is to say that some couples/people, their building blocks are inferior. I reject that. When individuals come together, state an intention to build something, which is bigger than themselves, to take on the name family, to form a unit, which is stable, affirming, loving and a credit to their community(-ies,) then that is a marriage.
No two marriages look the same. How could they be. We are individuals first. No joining of individuals will every produce the same result. That is what makes the process so empowering, fulfilling and joyful.
I promise to unveil what I made, but today, today I raise my glass once again to J and S. Two of the most loving, generous, and fiercely fantastic ladies I know. It is not just the fiercely loving gazes they shared under the Chuppah but the gathering of people, who stood by them, who celebrated with them and who came together to say, we support your love, we have always supported who you are as individuals and who you are together, because together you are a power forged in love, acceptance and understanding.
So today I leave you with two of the first songs played at the reception... which I think define who J and S are in their love... and who we, the gathered friends and family are to them, love. In all its forms and in all its facets. Love is a power, which will not be denied. No matter how hard some people fight to deny it-- love will conquer...Love will never be denied. The joining of those in love-- it is a human right, which cannot be denied in a democracy which prizes individuals and liberty.
This made me cry, listening to the lyrics, I thought-- yes... home. Home is where love grows. Homes are so different. What is inside and outside... just like a marriage... each one is different...
This is Pink's Song Raise Your Glass-- but this video is awesome, so I am featuring the cover. We were loud on Saturday night. Loud in our celebration and loud in our love. Not everyone lives in a State where they can choose marriage. We loudly rejected that, we spoke out against it. We committed to continue to speak out against it. I will continue to speak out against it. No one at the wedding of S and J can deny that the service was about their love for each other, their love for their friends, the love we felt for them. It was friends and family and the room wept with love.
No one should be denied that, ever...
So today-- S and J! I raise my glass again, to you, to your love and the celebration of love.
I am also committed to keep raising my voice... I will not stop-- until all celebrations of love are recognized in this country!