We didn’t get married that day, though. This was a day of ceremony and festivities to supplement our rather unceremonious entry into the state of legal marriage almost 5 years earlier.
The reasons for our 1999 wedding-that-wasn’t-quite-a-wedding are a story for another day, and one that I have briefly told before.
While we had planned to have the wedding ceremony soon after the legal marriage, it wasn’t until 2004 that the pieces finally fell together. Meanwhile, in May of 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to legally recognize same-sex marriage. We were very pleased with this news, and I feel real pride in my adoptive state about this issue.
John and I are not exactly religious. (This may actually be an understatement.) As such, we don’t belong to any church or other religious organization. However, as religion is an important part of the lives of many people who are important in our lives, I wanted to have our wedding be at least spiritual, if not overly religious.
When it came time to pick an officiant for our own wedding ceremony, I also wanted to find a person who supported marriage equality.
I remember driving past Unitarian Universalist churches displaying rainbow flags and messages supporting same-sex partners. Living in rural Massachusetts, in an area where churches and even some homes will sometimes display sayings of hellfire and damnation, it made me smile to see the progressive messages so boldly and proudly displayed.
Not only did the UU church support marriage equality, but members of the Unitarian Universalist church fought actively to bring about the legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.
Choosing a minister from a Unitarian Universalist congregation seemed a clear choice, and it was one that I was very happy with.
Our wedding ceremony added something to our relationship. To have a joyous celebration that we shared with our friends and family, a public acknowledgement of our commitment, was a rite that I appreciated in ways that are hard for me to pinpoint. Our legal marriage, on the other hand, added things to our relationship that are easy to identify. The possibility of being able to share a health insurance policy, for a start. Plus many other rights and benefits:
There are over 1,400 rights that come from being legally married in the eyes of the government. (source)
I am happy to be married, both for the symbolic union with the partner that I love, and for the benefits that this union affords us.
I am also happy to live in a place where couples are not denied the right to marriage based on their gender.