In 2002, I was 25 years old and working at a YWCA in a program for teenage girls right outside of Boston. That was the year I went to my first gay wedding.
The wedding was that of a lesbian couple I considered to be my "lesbian role models". This couple was only a few years older than me but seemed to have it all. They certainly had a brilliant relationship that I admired. I loved them as a couple and as individuals.
In March 2002, they decided to get married. Of course it wasn't legal, so they planned a commitment ceremony in one of their favorite places in the world: Edisto Island, South Carolina.
Edisto was a placed they'd vacationed and absolutely loved, and with those great views and a reasonable drive from their home in Atlanta, it made sense as their wedding destination. They rented a house on the beach and planned a great weekend for all 100 or so of us.
I was so eager to see my lesbian role models finally get married! My girlfriend-at-the-time and I road-tripped down to South Carolina and were so excited to join the celebration. I didn't know what to expect, but I knew it was going to be special.
And it was. Everything was perfect. A beautiful beach-side ceremony. Heartfelt vows. A parade of guests up the beach to the tented reception. All was going according to plan.
And then the DJ killed the buzz. An acquaintance from Atlanta was originally going to DJ and he bagged, so they ended up hiring someone local. This was someone they'd come out to and trusted enough to spin the wedding. The brides felt good about their decision.
Not only did DJ "Bubba" not play what was requested but he took his emceeing duties pretty far, making extensive comments between songs. Then he started drinking and running his mouth.
He nailed it all: homophobic, racist and anti-semetic comments. At one point, Bubba said into the mic, "I think I've done it all now, a gay wedding, a Jewish wedding with a rabbi...never met one of them before...all I got to do now is play a black wedding." He remarked to several lesbian couples, "You two sure are a pretty couple...can't I be a part of that?" He made racist remarks to some of the guests and his ongoing homophobic commentary upset the brides and everyone else.
And when confronted by one of the brides, Bubba called the cops with a noise complaint. The cops came to the wedding and shut down the DJ, allowing Bubba to leave two hours early, paid in full with a tent full of offended guests.
Eighteen months later when the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, I created 14 Stories with Bubba (and my friends) in mind. I knew that was unacceptable, yet similar stories would be inevitable. But not to my clients. Never. And now I'm committed to educating the whole wedding industry to ensure that no same-sex couple has to have their wedding day ruined by people like Bubba.
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