This past weekend, I attended a gay wedding -- or, as I like to call it, a wedding.
My 36-year-old brother married his partner during a short but beautiful ceremony with close friends and family in the heart of downtown Chicago.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, my brother and now brother-in-law were pronounced husband and husband and shared a kiss before exiting down the aisle, exchanging both smiles and tears.
No lightning struck the ground. No flames spontaneously engulfed the building. And no straight marriages shattered as they said "I do." That includes my own.
In fact, if asked to cite an impact this same-sex ceremony did have on my traditional marriage, I would (first, go on a rant about why the term "traditional marriage" is ridiculous, and secondly) disclose that being a witness to same-sex matrimony actually strengthened my own marriage.
I would also encourage anyone who currently considers him/herself to belong in a traditional marriage to attend a same-sex ceremony. Because if there's one thing witnessing a marriage that is illegal in more than half of U.S. states can remind you of, it's that weddings are so much more than diamonds, DJs and décor.
Weddings mark the start of a shared union -- a lifelong partnership between two people who have chosen to make binding promises to one another. Promises that often involve agreeing to work on the marriage when it needs to be worked on and to fight for it when it needs to be fought for.
And if I had to guess which couples would be likely to work and fight the hardest for their marriages, I would predict it to be those who have already worked hard and fought to make marrying their partners a possibility in the first place.
On my own wedding day, I remember frantically running around making sure every minute detail was completed according to plan. Would everyone understand what to do during each music cue in the ceremony? Would all the centerpieces be in order for the reception? Would the guests be satisfied with the food and beverage choices?
While I knew at the time the day would go on even without every last detail occurring exactly as we had planned, I concerned myself with some of the most trivial aspects of the day. After all, I had never experienced not being legally able to marry the person I wanted to marry. Stressing about whether or not the grey color used in the programs would match the grey color used on the table menus seemed like a somewhat legitimate thing to worry about.
That is, until I attended a wedding that would have been illegal this very same time last year.
That's why it is difficult for me to understand arguments against same-sex marriage that devoutly proclaim these unions would destroy the sanctity of traditional marriage.
So I refreshed my vocabulary a bit:
Sanctity -- Something that is sacred.
Sacred -- Highly revered and respected.
Marriage is, indeed, sacred. But if proponents of traditional marriage are truly worried about sanctity, doesn't taking marriage away from those who likely revere it the most -- the same-sex couples like my brother and his husband whose ceremonies are far more focused on the extreme gratitude over their ability to be legally recognized in marriage than the cosmetic details of the day -- seem to contradict what they are after?
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