Three years ago, in a passion to find a summer job, I ended up employed as a catering waitress here in California at a pretty up-scale catering company. It was only supposed to be a one-summer deal, a way to make some gas money, but thanks to the awesome pay and my very understanding boss, here I am three years later spending every Saturday at somebody else’s wedding. To-date I have been to over 45 weddings and counting (but only once as a guest!) and have seen it all (and judged most of it—everyone needs a way of dealing… especially the catering staff), but this Saturday marked my very first homosexual wedding. I’m sure you’re aware that before Wednesday June 26th gay marriage was illegal in California (thanks Prop 8), but due to a pretty awesome and life-changing Supreme Court decision, Prop 8 and DOMA—Defense of Marriage Act—were deemed unconstitutional and the court set a civil rights precedence giving gay couples the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. It my opinion, it was pretty damn awesome. So, you can imagine how excited I was to be working my very first gay marriage the same week it had been legalized—the first for the entire company, in fact!
I showed up to a blistering field in triple-digit temperatures, to find two lovely men who were struggling to pull all the minute details together at the last moment. I ended up communicating with the grooms the most, as my coworkers were not quite as comfortable as I was with the concept of gay marriage, and trust me, there was A LOT they asked me to do: there were large metal balls (blistering in the sun) that had to surround candles that were melting in the heat and dog place cards that all needed to be labeled and on and on and on. But, all those tiny details were amazingly unimportant to these two men as they came together as husbands, legally.
Whether out of pure curiosity or whatever, we all ended up peeking out of the kitchen to watch the ceremony. It was small, only 75 people (which sounds huge but, trust me, is small for a wedding) and before the grooms even began walking down the aisle, together, there were tears in everyone’s eyes as the enormity of the situation was realized—two people, previously denied the right to be together, had waited and persevered to reach this moment. They had written their own vows and had me crying in an instant—and I NEVER cry at weddings, they loose their sweetness after three years, but this one was different. One of the women I work with, a lovely traditionally religious woman who had been uncomfortable since the beginning, turned to me, tears in her eyes, and said “Oh, I get it. Love is love” (yes, she literally said that). The others nodded along with her, and I felt that in that moment there was a great understanding among us as the stigma of gay marriage was erased a little and the evening took a turn for the positive.
The night turned out to be a blast as the men and their guests danced the night away to “Dancing Queen,” “It’s Raining Men,” and LOTS of Beyoncé. They ate and drank and partied, and looked like every other happy wedding party I’ve been too. One of my favourite moments was when the two grooms danced with their mums and then switched and danced with their new mother in laws. There was no bouquet toss, no garters, nothing borrowed or blue, but the cake was SPECTACULAR and the champagne never stopped flowing. Yes, there are difficulties adjusting an institution that has been one way for an eon and fitting traditions to a new brand, but there was no denying that when those two men said “I DO” that their love was true and worthy of legal support. Love is love, marriage is between two people that love each other, and though I know there will be trouble adjusting to this change in definition, it’s about bloody time! One of the biggest things that hit me during the wedding is that nobody mentioned the recent change in legislation. This wedding was personal, and between two men who belonged together whether a legal change had occurred or not. It was about them, not the country. That Wednesday I understood the overruling of DOMA and Prop 8 as a civil rights issue, but that Saturday I recognized it as a personal and necessary step forward.
If you feel inclined, please comment below and share your thoughts! I just want to remind you that these are my own opinions expressed here and I’m not speaking for Tufts in any way, I just wanted to share an event in my life that I found pretty important. Comment below!!