I recently posted about the backwards and hypocritical fact that my husband and I were on our way to a wedding which he was officiating, while our marriage isn't recognized in that state or our home in Florida.
The discussion around the blog was very interesting, with some people wondering why Anthony was performing the ceremony at all and "perpetuating the discrimination" on our community. The truth is these are our friends who have always supported us. They were getting married and they wanted him to do the ceremony, much like my sister did when she asked him to do the same.
Little did I realize that by going and just being ourselves at the wedding, we would change so many people's views about gay couples.
I'll admit to being a bit wary to travel to Milwaukee to a wedding that would be populated by somewhat conservative Midwesterners and ex-frat boy football players. I tend to stick out like a big gay thumb in situations like this- the gender variant, out of the binary, sissy boy with a fauxhawk and rather fierce eyebrows (if I do say so myself).
While we were the only gay people at the wedding, most were wonderfully accepting after feeling us out a little bit. There were a few eyebrows raised when we introduced each other as husbands and some comments that were less than amusing about my gender expression.
The most hostile attitude came from a middle aged man, who wore an evangelical "get ready for the rapture" bracelet. He steered mostly clear of us (although his wife loved hanging out with us during the weekend activities). His side comments would leave me fuming from time to time: small things like how could the wedding possibly be legal if Anthony was doing it or being incredulous that we were actually legally married and foster parents.
We simply wrote him off as another small-minded person that wouldn't accept anything about us.
As the weekend wore on, everyone became more open with us, asking us about our life and families, curious about our wedding. People seemed to really open their hearts to us as we spent time together and were just another dorky couple at a wedding.
Everyone except the evangelical.
The big day arrived and Anthony officiated a beautiful, funny, and moving ceremony. Everyone laughed, cried, and seemed to really enjoy the vows. As the reception got under way, the new bride and groom thanked us for being there and for letting them base their vows off of the ones we used for our ceremony. The party applauded and people began to really get comfortable and open with us (a combination of just being used to us and champagne, I'm sure). Anthony even got a few more requests to officiate weddings for some of the other attendees.
I never would have guessed, however, what happened next.
Anthony and I were laughing arm in arm with some of the bridesmaids when the evangelical approached us and asked to speak with us. With tears in his eyes, he complimented the ceremony and asked for Anthony to renew his and his wife's vows right then. He wanted the same vows we (and the new bride and groom) had used.
Who would have thought that something as simple as just being there and being open would start to change someone's mind about our community. While the state we were in may not have recognized our marriage legally, the rest of the wedding party, including one of the most close-minded people I had ever met, did.
Who could have asked for a better wedding gift.