When thinking about weddings—even on the grandest scale—they are perceived to be individualized occasions, honoring the love between a bride and groom and the affection they share with family and friends. However, with the recent passage of New York’s “Marriage Equality Law,” same-sex marriages are not only personal celebrations, but events that make a political statement about the extension of this basic civil right to gay and lesbian couples.
When I write a ceremony script for a gay wedding, I feel compelled to mention briefly several points suggesting that the wedding day is part of a broader social movement. I believe that we New Yorkers are extremely proud that our elected officials, under the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo, saw fit to pass this historic legislation. We are privileged to play host to couples from around America who want to acknowledge formally their commitment to another and to share in the legal and emotional benefits of marriage. Indeed, homosexual men and women who are able to make this pilgrimage serve as representatives of the many gay couples who do not have the resources or opportunity to come to the Empire State to marry.
I had the honor of officiating the marriage of Bill and Gene who came to New York from their home in Florida. Like so many of “my” gay couples, they have been together for many years, but until now have not been able to easily marry in America. Bill and Gene have been in love for 35 years! They decided to exchange vows in “Christopher Park,” just across the street from the famed Stonewall Inn, a landmark in America’s gay rights movement. The Stonewall Rebellion planted the seeds of hope from which we harvest the fruits of marriage equality. To stand with these two who have watched the marriage equality debate unfold in fits and starts, with the Stonewall Inn serving as a backdrop to the private wedding ceremony, was a moving moment, indeed.
Congratulations to you Bill and Gene! Here’s to many years of marital bliss!