June 16, 2008 tickled us with the approval of same sex marriages in California.
We smiled as we read the article in the L.A. Times.
“Would you ever consider us getting married?” I asked Neal
“We don’t even live together. How can we get married?”
I changed the subject. The glow of our April ten year anniversary party with sixty friends and relatives shimmers my mood.
An evil proposition flowered wanting to define marriage that would only exist between a man and woman. Prop 8 consumed Neal’s attorney mind.
“It’s out of state Mormons trying to influence the voters. We need to fight this.”
“Marriage Neal?” came to mind in July. No answer.
In August as Prop 8 gained steamed and looked headed for passage, Neal told me.
“I think we should wed.” My organized brain sprouted into action. Easy and simple. Maggiano’s at the Grove would fit the bill.
We meet with the manager.
“Can we have the outside patio that overlooks the trees? Is there a place to put a huppah? That’s a bridal canopy held up by four poles. The top is a material quilted, woven or embroidered. God hovers over the Hoopa during the ceremony. Can we have the ceremony followed by luncheon brunch at 10:30?”
All we heard was yes.
But the only available date was Sunday November 2nd. Two days before the election.
“Oh God. What if Prop 8 goes through”
“We need to get the marriage license validated before that Tuesday. I still can’t believe it will succeed.” He says.
“I don’t want gifts. We should ask people to donate to Prop 8’s defeat.” My accountant brain says.
The wonders of E-vite on the internet enables this “shotgun” wedding to work.
We meet with the rabbi for counseling. A standard religious practice.
“I know you aren’t living together but I predict a change. Please promise me if things fall apart and you need to divorce you’ll both be kind to each other.” I spoke to Neal’s eyes and saw 100% trust.
She continued” You know I have two other weddings on that Sunday. We’ll need to remember to pack up the huppah for the other ceremonies. Everyone is getting on the marital train.”
The day of the humid misty morning wedding swells us. I wear my tuxedo and Neal his Carol & Company suit. The suit was for a California Supreme Court case. His lucky bow-tie is affixed. Is this happening? A legal wedding. Thirty-four years ago, I “married” my first lover Scott. It was a pretend 1974 ceremony. It felt tangible. Today is scary real.
My sister and Mom escort me into the sea of tables. My man comes towards me armed by his sisters Jill and Leslie. The song “In Whatever Time We Have” plays. A Stephen Swartz obscure Broadway classic. I smirk thinking about Neal’s comments- “Will people think one of us is sick because of the lyrics?”
The poem “I Carry Your Heart with Me” by E.E. Cummings kicks off the ceremony.
I carry your heart with me (I carry it in
my heart) I am never without it (anywhere
I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) I want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)
The Bible selections by treasured friends link us.
Our vow highlights:
Gordon: When I met you ten years ago it was impossible for you to say I Love You. Now in front of 120 people you can legally profess love. You make me giddy like a child. I knew nothing about sports before I met you and now I can tolerate watching The Olympics.
Neal: You have changed me. When I casually mentioned a trip to Vietnam last year, you went ahead a made plane reservations while I was swimming. I consider that our honeymoon that led to this wedding. I pledge my faithfulness to you.
After we read our vows we sing “My Funny Valentine”. The sweetness of the line “Don’t change your hair for me, not if you care for me” moves me. We notice a collapse. The huppah that covers us begins to descend. Our breath is stilled as we see our friend fall to the ground. The humidity made him faint after holding the huppah for 40 minutes. A few doctors dash to help. He recovers, and we continue. This will make for a memorable day!
The sound of breaking glass seals the marriage. Our lips moisten smiles.
My eternity friend Sy’s toast includes:
Gordon and Neal are an odd couple. Gordon is organized and ridiculously neat. You could find a pin in his condo while in Neal’s office you can’t find Neal. Neal loves swimming while Gordon’s idea of working out is wandering between cinemas at the Sunset Five before management catches him. Gordon is always early and Neal is complicated.
My niece and nephew entertain the masses with their “stomp” drum playing on garbage cans.
We dance to “I’m Your Man” by Richard Marx to finish the day. Receiving this barrage of love friends and family humbles us.
Election day gave us a bittersweet Obama win. It came with the cost of the Prop 8 destruction of future same sex marriages. We were part of the historic 18,000 marriages that remained maybe “legal-safe” between June 16th and November 4th. The poignancy of federal acceptance of same sex marriage in 2015 would have wait.
After our romantic bond 10 years in 1998, there was metamorphosis in our relationship. We leveled up to an undefined new layer of connection. Today November 2, 2018 our tenth-year anniversary blossoms.