For the last several years of my life, I’ve passionately argued for the legalization and universal support of gay marriage. For my entire life, I’ve supported the gay lifestyle. Why not? I’m not asking for a medal — it just makes sense. In fact, it shouldn’t even be a subject to “support” or “argue.”
And this week, at 37 years old, I finally attended my first gay wedding.
As a happy plus-one, I went with my cousin Jenny (who is the closest thing I have to a sister) to the wedding — technically the solemnization of their Vermont union last fall — for one of her childhood best friends, the Reverend Kevin (an Episcopal priest) and his partner of 10 (12?) years, Anton (an Indonesian chef). Kevin and Anton live in Chicago so I had met them previously on Jenny’s trips north.
They met at Disneyworld when a still-learning-English Anton approached Kevin to ask about the book he was reading.
They frequently visit with two children that are biologically Kevin’s but raised in the home of a lesbian couple.
They danced their first dance to “For Good” from the Wicked soundtrack. The dimpled and shaven-headed Kevin spun the laughing, caramel-skinned Anton in jubilant fashion until the dance floor opened for all attendees. Often, they pulled in close and whispered those loving words couples share between one another. Their guests of all ages and races blinked back tears while maintaining huge grins.
They adore each other absolutely, and have, from first sight in the shadow of the Cinderella castle.
And yet … their marriage isn’t recognized in the vast majority of our states.
I am not going to get political here – I don’t have the smarts to, and I just won’t. But sitting in the church today — the Episcopal Cathedral of Chicago — I was extraordinarily moved. Not only by Kevin and Anton’s love, but by the support of their community. The church was packed with young and old, gay and straight, supportive friends of all races. A troupe of Indonesian dancers performed in full garb on the alter ahead of the communion hymn.
The homily was delivered by the Dean of the Cathedral, a middle-aged woman who proclaimed (I’m paraphrasing): Back in my day, marriage was sanctioned as a pairing between two people of the same race, the same religion, and different sexes. You all have one out of three going for you.
All joking aside, she then went on to say how Kevin and Anton’s love is inspirational for their friends and important for our world.
The ceremony reaffirmed my faith not only in “non-traditional” love but in the Episcopal church. I believe it is the liberal values of this church and my parents’ own teachings that have instilled in me a sense of acceptance and kindness. The fact that some could see the love that Kevin and Anton share and deny them the expression of that love just doesn’t make any sense to me. It isn’t kind to keep them from this. It isn’t right. It isn’t fair or necessary. And etc. Remember, friends, that Jesus himself was BFFs with some folks that may at the time have been deemed a bit “alternative lifestyle.”
Anton and Kevin are sweet and loving people. Way better people than I am, or than a lot of people fighting against their marriage are.
I’m off my soapbox. The situation is far improved now than it was 30 years ago, but we’ve got a long way to go, Charlie Brown. I just hope the skeptics run across a Kevin and Anton in their lives and learn that a couple in love is a beautiful and rare thing, even if they don’t look like your typical Rockwell picture.
And thank you, K and A, for letting me crash as a plus-one on your special day. All the best to you all the days of your lives.