Why we had a very, very gay wedding (not “just a wedding”)

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Photos by Anne Almasy

People (usually straight people) love to say “They’re not gay weddings — they’re just weddings.” Of course, that’s true… but our wedding was also very, very gay, and that was one of our favorite things about it! A lot of our guests were gay, our wedding party entered in various gender pairings regardless of each person’s actual orientation, and we brought a queer aesthetic to as many details as possible.

In the fight for marriage equality, there’s a risk that the thing that makes queer lives different will get lost in the shuffle. We wanted to celebrate the gayness of gay weddings and the importance of our broad family-of-choice to our lives.

So for us… No, it wasn’t “just a wedding.” Ours was a very, very gay wedding.

We ended up writing the following passage and printing it in our wedding program:

Why Get Hitched?

As we’ve been preparing for this celebration, we’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on what marriage represents to us, what it doesn’t represent, and what our choice to have a wedding represents to others. Of course, marriage – particularly gay marriage – is an explosively political topic at the moment. Because we found that our own feelings about our wedding and this ceremony often diverge sharply from the meanings that others assign to it, we were drawn to jot down a few thoughts.

This is what we believe:

Marriage has a troubling history. Marriage law has treated wives as property and has institutionalized the subjugation of women in the process. Legislation that dictated who could and could not marry codified hierarchies based on race, nationality, and ability.

Although marriage has undoubtedly changed radically over the past several generations, the potential for marriage to be troubling has not disappeared. In the U.S., many categories of people continue to be excluded from the right to marry legally. But even more worrisome, in privileging marriage and providing access to resources like healthcare, welfare, and immigration solely through this kind of partnership, we have excused our society from its responsibility to provide necessary care and services to individuals and people in other kinds of relationships. At the same time, when we privilege marriage between two people as the most important kind of relationship, we ignore the variety of vital relationships that human beings form over a lifetime.

Given these disturbing realities, why would we decide to get married at all?

We hope that this ceremony serves as an opportunity to reflect on the variety of relationships that have made us who we are. We aim to celebrate the journey we have taken already and to anticipate the paths to come, to recognize how we’ve grown together and alongside each other with all of you. We seek to recognize explicitly the public aspects of our relationship, to offer this great big party as a gift to the most important people in our lives and to thank you for making our universe possible. We have attempted to renegotiate traditions to suit our relationship and our values. And we are making a promise to stick together.

We’ve approached this ceremony as a set of questions rather than a script. We are trying to create a marriage that fits us rather than struggling to fit ourselves into whatever marriage is supposed to be. And we’re so very glad that you’re joining us for the ride.

Here’s the full wedding story:

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