Maine: No Marriage for Everyone for the Moment

I guess we’ll have to take joy in the fact that we’ve come a long way. This vote was lost by only 13,000 voters. But it’s a bitter disappointment. This is about civil rights and love on the line. There are not too much of either in this world.

Are there ways you can make your wedding stand for the right of all people to marry? What are they? How can you help? What can we do to make marriage matter for everyone?

Steve and I made a very public decision not to pursue a legal marriage because so many people could not marry. I continue to struggle with whether I should sign marriage licenses. Difficult not to do, because it is my livelihood. I push my church to review whether it is a good idea for us to be in the legal business of weddings, rather than the spiritual one. After all, we’re not in the legal business of divorce.

I”d love to hear from you about this.

Greenwich CT welcomes same-sex couples

If you’re a same-sex couple looking for a marriage license, you’re going to have to travel. So take the train to NYC, switch stations, and climb on the train for Greenwich. Since November 12, 2008, Greenwich has performed more than 139 same-sex weddings, more than any other town in CT.

Why? Well, why not? It’s gorgeous, and it’s close.

greenwich_600Janet Durrans of the NYT took this picture of Kari Hovland, left, and Marjorie Bennett of California, who traveled to Greenwich, Conn., to marry.

Tip: get married there and consider staying around for some sort of celebration. Might as well support the state that supports you.

Say what you think Pat Robertson & Bill O’Reilly!

You may not approve of gay marriage. In which case you are really better off not entering into one. But denying people rights because you’re worried that it might damage an institution that too few people take seriously as it is? Unworthy of thinking people.

Now, speaking of thinking people, the Wedding Priestess is not about to. Instead she’s going to talk about Pat Robertson who said gay marriage will lead to people’s dating ducks and Bill O’Reilly’s taking it the extra mile: people will be marrying ducks. (Not me, they bite, and besides I’ll be true to Darling Drummer.)

But here’s Garfunkel and Oates response to this, based on a flip statement once made by Andrew Sullivan. Read it and laugh. And then call your congresspeople to support the legalization of same sex marria

ge. (OK, this week the Wedding Priestess is going to learn how to embed video. grrr.) Go find this gem in an great article in Salon. Sorry to make you work this hard.

Tip: You’re never too old to make a fool of yourself. How’s that saying go? Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt! Advice, too little too late for the guys.

U R the 1!

Prop 8 Decision to Come Tomorrow

Dear Readers,

It looks as if California’s Supreme Court will hand down its rulings on Prop 8 which denies same sex marriage by tomorrow.

So today, while two sides wait in trepidation, let me speak to those who don’t believe this is a big deal.

Marriage is a big deal. There are not ever going to be too many loving, committed relationships. The right to marry is a big deal. Public marriage engenders support from the community. As a celebrant, I have seen parental and community support change as they witness their children’s weddings. “Oh,” they say, “they want to get married because they love one another.”

Another way to have your cake!

In Massachusetts, they’ve found that gays, who have the right to marry there, are divorcing as frequently as straights. On the other hand, Massachusetts has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country. The highest divorce rates in the country are in states where there is the biggest resistance to equal marriage rights.

  • I believe in equality of marriage rights.
  • I believe it will make marriage stronger as it emphasizes the importance of marriage and the protection of families.
  • I believe it is in the best interest of everyone to work for equal rights and equal rites.

I would like to see people who are concerned about marriage working on helping people stay married. Smacking our foreheads and saying it’s a dirty rotten shame has not been helpful. Smacking the divorcing and telling them they’re dirty and rotten has not been helpful. Here are the facts. People save more money and are more stable in marriage. Children are more secure and do better in life when raised in stable two parent families. Wanna work on something? Work on that!

Tip: Stand up for loving relationship. Stand up for stable communities. Stand up for marriage. Everyone’s and your own. Support Equal Marriage Rights.

If it’s a gay wedding is it a gay marriage?

At what point does a couple become simply a couple in marriage?

Now there are certainly problems in many marriages occurring between same-sex couples that occur because of outside hatefulness. But from what I’ve seen, marital problems with same-sex couples follow fairly predictable lines.

  1. People are different. It’s sometimes hard to agree on things.
  2. People have failings. No way around that.
  3. People get sick or tired and partners have to step up. It’s not always graceful.
  4. People lose jobs and parents and children and life is difficult. And you have to cope.

We need to be thinking about how to keep marriages of all kinds succeeding. One reason I advocate for public weddings is that we involve the community in the success of our marriages. Communities need stable relationships. It’s in their best interest to support them.

On today’s NY Times Op-Ed Page a transsexual, Jennifer Finney Boylan, wrote about her marriage and it’s ability to withstand the problems that arose when she realized she needed to be living as, to become, who she felt she was: a woman. Her wife, she tells us, ultimately found that she loved the essentials of the person more than the physical manifestations of that person. They have gone on building a marriage between them.

And yet, the courts think they have the rights to decide (and differently from state to state) whether they are married, whether they can inherit one another’s property should one spouse die, and whom they might marry should a partner die and the survivor decided to remarry.

Gender politics are always confusing, but rarely more so than in marriage. And adding the trans-gender thing to it, seems to add to the confusion. I loved these two paragraphs from this mornings editorial:

Similar rulings have left couples in similar situations in Florida, Ohio and Texas. A 1999 ruling in San Antonio, in Littleton v. Prange, determined that marriage could be only between people with different chromosomes. The result, of course, was that lesbian couples in that jurisdiction were then allowed to wed as long as one member of the couple had a Y chromosome, which is the case with both transgendered male-to-females and people born with conditions like androgen insensitivity syndrome. This ruling made Texas, paradoxically, one of the first states in which gay marriage was legal.

A lawyer for the transgendered plaintiff in the Littleton case noted the absurdity of the country’s gender laws as they pertain to marriage: “Taking this situation to its logical conclusion, Mrs. Littleton, while in San Antonio, Tex., is a male and has a void marriage; as she travels to Houston, Tex., and enters federal property, she is female and a widow; upon traveling to Kentucky she is female and a widow; but, upon entering Ohio, she is once again male and prohibited from marriage; entering Connecticut, she is again female and may marry; if her travel takes her north to Vermont, she is male and may marry a female; if instead she travels south to New Jersey, she may marry a male.”

Tip: Here’s the truth. Marriage is complicated. We need to spend our time getting people ready for healthy and happy marriage and then finding ways to keep them in those marriages. Our children will do better. Our society and our communities will do better. Let’s here it for making marriages stronger. Let’s stop worrying about who’s in the marriage and start worrying about how they’re making it work.

Same Sex Marriage: Wedding Priestess Speaks Out

Oh, says WP, pulling her hair. reading the Washington Post today, I came across an editorial proposing Catholic Blessings of Same-Sex Unions. Sigh. They thought celibacy in marriage was a good thought. Just, as I’m sure you know, infertile couples are celibate, aging couples are celibate, and couples who’ve just had babies and know it’s too soon to have another are celibate.

I’ll say this many times. There is not too much love in the world. There are not too many committed relationships. The more committed relationships there are, the more successful committed relationships there will be. The Law can not circumscribe the wisdom of the heart.

Tip: Go read the article and scroll down and read what I said. And yes, Wedding Priestess DID spell her name wrong. It was early, ok?

60th Anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights

60 years ago today, the UN passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This Declaration and human rights have been under siege at home and all over the world. In the marriage corner human rights are threatened as states rush to pass discriminatory marriage amendments.

Marriage is sacred. But we do not treat it as such. More than 50 percent of first time marriages end in divorce. Are we marrying too early, too hastily, with not enough thought or conviction? The sacredness of marriage is not in who marries but in who keeps the commitments.

Same Sex Marriage: Their Right, Everyone’s Responsibility

Tip: Speak out in favor of the rights of gays and lesbians to marry and for their families to have the protection of the law. Shore up your own marital success and surround yourself with people who make and keep loving promises.

Your Marriage Covenant: Mat It, Frame It, Hang It

Ok, you designed the document, you signed your vows, your celebrant put her Janessa Hancock on the dotted lion and your guests gleefully signed as witnesses. Now what. Now comes the part that many of us just never quite get around to. PUT IT UP. that’s it. that’s all you need to do. Take some of the $$ you got from your wedding presents and go to the frame store.

If you’re having a legal ceremony, then you need to have the celebrant sign it and if you live in a state that has witnesses, they must sign as well. In most states, the celebrant needs to send the doc in, because the couple that we’re trusting to live in connubial bliss cannot be trusted to put a stamp on an envelope without tampering with the information… ? ANYWAY.

Tip: Now that that’s out of the way, the first thing you want to do when you come back from your honeymoon is trot your Marriage Covenant over to the local Frame Shop and get it matted and framed. While that’s happening think about which spot in your house will be the best spot for your covenant. While you’re at the framing store to pick it up, pick up the hardware to hang it, come home, bang the nail into the wall and hang your vows on the wall for everyone who enters your house to see!

Your Marriage Covenant: Your Community’s Support

Ok, you’ve picked a symbol for your marriage for the covenant, you’ve written your vows (woot, woot!) you and your celebrant have agreed what language you’re going to use about this sacred relationship (again, I say, marriage!) and now it’s time to enlist your community’s support.

In each of my wedding ceremonies rather than ask the community if anyone objects, I ask them if everyone is willing to support the relationship. Because I think it’s important to make promises out loud, rather than just respond “I do” or “We are” or whatever the appropriate words are, I always ask the community to repeat after me. I almost always use these words:

“Partner & Partner, We are witnesses of your intentions and we pledge you our love and support.”

You might want to say… “we pledge you and your marriage” our love and support to clarify that your community views your relationship as marriage.

Tip: Design a statement of support along with your celebrant. Have your celebrant, or someone else, lead the community in repeating the statement. Then, inscribe those words on the covenant, and leave room for everyone to sign… I must say this is one of those places where I don’t like the sign all over the document, thing, put little lines in to sign just as if it were a legal document, because, surprise, it just might be!

Your Marriage Covenant: Your Celebrant’s Declaration

There’s lots of argument these days, thanks to the marriage equality movement about what is a marriage. I think the religious guys have it wrong. (now there’s a surprise!) I think the legal portion of oh, now, what am I going to call it, marriage, is about protection for the family. That should be accomplished by a civil union. Everyone should have access to a civil union. No separate but equal, just a civil protection of your rights as a couple and a family. And then there should be a celebration of the marriage (if one chooses). The wedding ceremony celebrates the spiritual or sacred union, in my lexicon. This is true for all marriages.

Tip: Find a religious institution or a priest, minister, celebrant or officiant, who will help you create a ceremony that celebrates your particular Love and the marriage that will be the outgrowth of it. Once you’ve designed the ceremony, make sure the celebrant announces that you are married. Have that announcement already incorporated into your marriage covenant and ask your celebrant to sign it. Then: Hang it on the wall and live into the marriage that is worthy of your great love!