So, finally, the big day was here.
We had found our officiant, our wedding location, had family and friends gathered, and a large number of strangers, all to see us married in the presence of God, humans, plus our beloved dog. We took our vows, had laughs, had tears, had applause, and had great joy.
We also had some disappointments that day.
All of the loved ones that we’d hoped for could not be present. While we loved our location, we could not be married in our church. And then the realization: we couldn’t even share all of our wedding photos intact.
In order to protect our officiant, we would have to cut off our heads!
What?! Can you even imagine? Let’s back up.
You meet the love of your life (at church). She asks you to marry her. Cancer comes knocking on your door on a Thanksgiving night with a lump and on Christmas Eve eve is confirmed. You start off the new year with surgery, chemo and radiation. You celebrate at Convocation with your Reconciling family that it is all behind you. You celebrate at Pride with your church family that it is all behind you. The following year is a year of recovering yourselves as a couple, with the added “reality check” of General Conference 2012 to remind us that we are not equal to our fellow (straight) siblings in Christ and in The UMC.
The year after that, your mom dies, your dad comes to live with you, your boss dies, your beloved’s mother’s health is failing, and you fully realize the fragility of life and say it’s time to make the marriage proposal into a wedding. So you do. You decide on a date and who to invite. You lock in your location – out of state because marriage equality has not yet come to pass across the country. You decide which of your beloved clergy friends to ask to officiate. You do pre-marital counseling via phone. You choose the Bible passages that call to you, both for the readings and for your invitation. The mailing. The cake. The trek to another state to apply for and receive your marriage license.
You do all of the million things, big and small, to make your day just right. You have your wedding ceremony, photos, sign the marriage certificate, and then gather for prosecco toasts and conversation before heading to dinner and wedding cake. More photos and laughter with those dearest to your hearts. Then the realization that you can’t share the photos that have more than the two of you. You can’t put your friends at risk. You must cut off their heads. Instead of joy, you feel as if you are the executioner manning the guillotine. Cut off their heads!
Let me tell you: this is not something straight couples have to even consider.
You get married in your church, by your pastor, and you share the photos of your happiest day, with friends far and near. For us, that’s NOT the case. UMC, it’s time. Quit prohibiting our marriages. Quit prohibiting our clergy from officiating our marriages. Quit banning our weddings in our own churches. Quit making us cut off our heads!
- Revisiting a letter to General Conference delegates - May 1, 2018
- On the burden of being told your love is a risk to others - March 10, 2016