What’s the big deal about gay marriages?

Jason Haap

Jason HaapContributing Writer

So I just went to my first gay wedding, and it was completely unremarkable.

No, those aren’t the right words – but I almost think they should be.  The truth is I just went to a wedding – it seems weird to even put the word “gay” in the name – and the event seemed rather like every wedding I’ve ever attended: there was a community of joyful friends and family; there was a ceremony based on the newlyweds’ cultural traditions and faith backgrounds; there was good food, cold drinks, thoughtful speeches, tears of joy, and dancing.  That’s what weddings are.

During the speeches, we heard from all the usual suspects: the best woman and the maid of honor, friends from college, family of both the brides. Everyone said the same thing – that these two people were the perfect match. I believe it myself, too.

Meredith Smith and Lauren Shockley Wedding May 18, 2013. Photo: Ashley Terada

Meredith Smith and Lauren Shockley Wedding May 18, 2013. Photo: Ashley Terada

Wordpress-QuoteI’m probably preaching to the choir here – at least, I don’t think right-winged fanatics are the typical audience for Streetvibes – so most of you, readers, likely support gay marriage anyway.  (And many of you have probably been to several such weddings.)  I have always supported gay marriage, too – only I had never attended one.  Now that I have, I’m just struck by the beautiful ordinariness of the whole thing.

At one point, one of the brides took the microphone, and she gave a wonderfully ordinary kind of speech like you might expect from a personable, articulate, joy-filled person, but there was one moment where she stopped to address the “pink elephant” in the room.  (At least, I think she said “pink elephant.”  It might have been “purple elephant.”  I definitely think there was some color to that elephant.  Did I mention there were cold drinks?)

Anyway, the truth is that I didn’t really attend a marriage, since two women are still not allowed to marry each other in Ohio.  As the bride made clear, gay people can still stand to lose their jobs if the wrong employer learns about their orientation. Again, we all know about these injustices already.  None of this is new.

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that, now more than before, I have a first-hand experience at the fantastic harmlessness of watching two people who love each other publicly announce the fact to the world.  As I reflect on the unofficial marriage ceremony I attended, I realize how utterly typical the whole thing was – how fervently normal.

It was gloriously and magnificently unremarkable.

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