Last week, Randy and Keaton, two men I am lucky to have as friends, got married in a lovely ceremony in a garden in Dallas, Texas, surrounded by loved ones.
I’m not an emotional person, so I’ll skip the sappiness. It was beautiful and simple and romantic and loving and happy. It was.
But I’ve been to so many weddings that the emotions have taken a backseat to the dancing, drunkenness, and need to look fabulous. Weddings are rarely about true love for me. They tend to be more about having a good time. Sure, there is an ever-present need to force the love down everyone’s throat, but it never really got to me on an emotional level.
This wedding, however, was different. Not because it was two men. Not because I am a firm believer in marriage equality. Not because it was my first wedding in Texas.
This wedding was different because, right before my eyes, I saw everything that I have been taught about ultimate love redefined.
I met Randy accidentally in September 2011. We hit it off really well right from the start. While I’ve only seen him once in my life, we’ve had endless email, Facebook and twitter exchanges, often discussing anything from his conservative upbringing to my rejection/objection to any kind of military glorification.
By November, we had very, very, very long email conversations about gay-related issues on a weekly basis. A few weeks later, he told me he had proposed to his boyfriend. This, of course, sparked a conversation on gay marriage.
Being in love with his boyfriend and a father of 3, Randy felt that it was important to make that commitment. Marriage, after all, for many, many people, has always been a kind of goal in life. You are not complete until you’ve found the person that completes you.
I spurted out my expected societal pressure lecture and went on and on about how marriage was a construct that was forcing us to live in misery and divorce and contracts and expectations and love and freedom and and and.
I have issues with marriage. Not gay marriage specifically. Any kind of marriage. While my position is a bit more developed than this, I just find it obscene that two people in love would have to ever sign a contract. It contradicts my vision of love, trust, and happiness.
But we live in a society that glorifies marriage, and in a society in which the ultimate representation of love is marriage. Your relationship doesn’t get legitimacy unless it is bound by marriage. You start your future, your life, and your family by getting married.
That’s what we have to work with.
That also basically means that, no matter how much two men or women love each other, if they can’t get married, they never reach that scared representation of love. It means that straight love will always be looked on as better/more important/healthier than gay love.
When we grow up, as gay men and women, we don’t get any example of this pinnacle of life, love, and family. We are always meant to feel that we can never actually live up to that. This has a very real impact on gay people.
As I stood there, watching Keaton resting his head on Randy’s shoulder, I got it. I got why this was important. I understood why people were fighting to get (gay) married.
And as Randy and Keaton’s friends and family watched, this pinnacle in a person’s life, when they commit themselves to someone else, was being redefined to better suit my vision of things, where love is not necessarily between one man and one woman. Where love is love. (Did I promise I wouldn’t get sappy??)
I had plenty of conversations with people before, during, and after the ceremony. The one question that kept coming up was “Is this your first gay wedding?” For the overall majority of people, it was.
Hopefully, soon enough, that question won’t even be asked anymore.