A Wedding

Last weekend we returned briefly to New York City to attend the wedding of my godfather, Glen, and his partner of nearly two decades, Gino. It was a beautiful ceremony, and a wonderful reception at the Loeb Boathouse. It felt very traditional to me, though in one way, I suppose, it was not traditional. To be honest, I hadn’t thought much about it. I knew Glen and Gino as a great couple–one of those couples you just think of as being married, and it strikes you as odd that they aren’t. And even stranger when it’s illegal. I was thrilled when we got the invite, because I consider the two of them good friends (an appellation I use rarely, outside of Facebook), and I was thrilled that they were getting married. I was acutely aware that they had only recently been granted this right in New York, but I thought less about this than about them as two people I knew and liked, who were getting married.

I’ve been supportive of marriage equity for some time. Unlike Obama, this isn’t a position I’ve “evolved into.” But I’ve been supportive in that low-key, slactivist way: I’ve given a bit of money to the Human Rights Campaign, and written letters to editors and to legislators. It has always, to me, been an annoyingly clear case of not providing the same right to everyone. But I will also admit that this comes with a heavy dose of white straight male privilege. Among those I normally interact with, the idea that those who are not white and straight should enjoy the same human rights is beyond legitimate debate–it’s obvious. But it also means that I can agree with this and too easily forget what it has taken to get here. Stonewall was before my time, and not having been in the position of being targeted because of my sexuality means that while I can be deeply empathetic, I will never fully understand that struggle. It is too easy for me to say equality should be the norm, and falls toward the “I don’t see race,” sort of comment.

So, I think there was a lot more to celebrate at Gino and Glen’s wedding than the coming together of two individuals, or of two families. There was more than I could know. That’s probably true of all weddings, but here, I felt like I should have known better, and should have appreciated more what this meant. It wasn’t just making possible what couldn’t have legally happened two years ago. It wasn’t just the state recognizing that they had unjustly excluded some people from a certain certification. It was a step in the lives of two men who had faced a similar set of injustices throughout their lives.

By the time we got to the vows and the exchange of rings, Kai had had enough and Jamie had brought him to the back of the church where he could be a little less disruptive. Jasper, at this point, was sitting on my knee in rapt attention. And more than anything else, seeing the wedding through his eyes made me rethink my own perspective.

Jasper, like me, thinks of Uncle Gino and Uncle Glen as friends–he likes both of them a lot. It was not by design that Jasper’s first wedding was for two men, and I hadn’t really thought much about it, but I am deeply thankful that this, for him, is what a wedding is. Just as I am glad that for Jasper, the president has always been black. I am also aware that this is a very naive version of race and gender equity. I know that these issues are more complex and deserve deeper consideration. But I also enjoy my own naive appreciation, that I share with my son, that two of my favorite people get to be married. And that alone, even outside of the historical context and of the struggle, is something that is worthy of joy and appreciation.

Congratulations Gino and Glen, and may you grow together even more in the years to come.

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  1. AlejandrA
    Posted 10/12/2012 at 4:40 am | Permalink

    Beautiful. Teaching a new generation to love and respect people for who they are is a gift for all of us. Thank you. And congratulations to the happy couple!

  2. Posted 10/23/2012 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    I second the above. Beautiful.

  3. Glenorchy P. Campbel
    Posted 12/30/2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    As 2012 draws to a close, I want to belatedly, but no less sincerely, express gratitude for this very thoughtful and considerate post, one so much like Alex. He’s a thoughtful and considerate guy who thinks about things and puts them in an informed and caring context. There is still so much struggle ahead with regard to true marriage equality, and I am aware that the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the NY and Ca cases is fraught with risk. Have enough lower court precedents been set? Will Justice Kennedy again come down on right side? Nevertheless and no matter how the Court rules, I remain optimistic for very good reasons. The progress made in this regard on Election Day 2012 was nothing short of great.
    Then, too, there are Alex and Jasper and Jamie and Kai. Even if Alex were not my godson, I would be so impressed with the hope he and his family represent for the future, particularly in how he and Jamie are raising Jasper and Kai. As parents they are outstanding in teaching Jasper and Kai to respect the rights of others and good manners. I’ve had the joy of watching Jasper play with others in Central Park. If called upon to correct some behavior of Jasper’s (a very rare occurrence!), they do so with respect for him in a gentle, but firm manner. By example they teach him (and Kai) to be mindful of others and take care of the world we all share. They are not alone in doing so. How could our world go wrong with fathers and mothers like Alex and Jamie seeing to the future?
    Alex ‘s compassion and sense of justice come through in his posts, via his Facebook comments, and in what his Buffalo and Quinnipiac students have said and, now his ASU students, say about him.
    Gino and I are so grateful that he was a part of our wedding (he read my favorite e.e. cummings’ poem during the ceremony) and that he, Jamie, Jasper, and Kai were there to share our joy. Lots more joy in the years to come with all of them in our life!

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