I believe that historians have had a “field day” the first few weeks of November 2008, considering all of the historical events that have taken place.
On November 4th, the people of the United States turned out in record numbers with overwhelming votes for the first Afro American to be President, Mr. Barack Obama. Unfortunately on the same day, the residents of California voted against Proposition 8, a measure that would have allowed Same-Sex Marriage. Then on November 12th, one of the original 13 Colonies, Connecticut, “The Constitution State”, stepped up to the plate and finally recognized that “ALL” Citizens in this State have equal rights, which extends the recognition of marriage to include Same-Sex Marriage.
I am sure we all received tons of e-mails, and news reports, but what amused me, was the number of e-mails that I received asking me to be sure to invite them to “yet another Nick and Arthur ceremony”.
I mean really, how many “anniversaries” does it take to become “legal”? We already had our “non-legal ceremony” on September 12th, 1992, and then a legal Civil Union ceremony on October 14th, 2005. So we have decided, we will just wait and re-new our vows next September.
Before I continue with this post, I should first provide you with the legal guidelines for Same-Sex Marriage in Connecticut. These guidelines apply to residents as well as non-residents:
After Nick asked me to marry him (I said yes), I thought preparing for our wedding was going to be a breeze, since I had already given several large parties in my life.
What I did not realize, during the initial planning phase in 1992, was that I was up the river without a canoe or a paddle, because I was about to plan my own wedding. YIKES
At the time, I was also the primary care-giver to my grandmother. For those of you who also do this sort of thing, you know it does take up a lot of time.
I would like to share with you my experience in the preparations for this event.
I was still in the state-of-denial, that I was actually living in Connecticut, let alone in a Republican stronghold. Consequently, I really did not venture outside and socialize in the neighborhood that was my grandparents’ area. Listening to them and visiting them was enough of a culture shock, due to the lack of diversity, which I was accustomed to having grown up in New York City.
To be very brief, certain social topics were just not discussed, if you wanted to keep your blood pressure down to a manageable level.
In this section of Connecticut, many weddings are held in the family backyard. Since this was going to be a “non-legal ceremony” I figured this would be “the spot” and a very simple solution. The higher powers that watch over us, gave us a beautiful day, even though the weather forecasters started to mention rain showers for that week.
The date and time was decided upon with the help of friends, then the wedding invitations needed to be prepared and sent. I went to Greenwich Village, in New York City, figuring I could review and choose a “great wedding invitation” somewhere in the area. But, to my great surprise, there were very slim pickings to choose from, so I went for the absurd, and “lighter side” of an invitation. The invitations I choose are on top of this post.
That done, and working within a small time frame, now the crazies began to set in:
1 – I was insisting upon having a Catholic Priest.
Yes, I am aware the Catholic Church is a major force that does not support Same-Sex Marriages, but that was not going to stop me from finding a Priest to officiate at the ceremony. A major panic “set in” to find a person because the date was getting closer and closer. I finally found a priest who agreed to officiate at the ceremony, he was wonderful and Oh, what a hoot he was.
2 – “THE” wedding cake was simple, in as much as while this area is extremely conservative, the baker was not. He created a beautiful cake, with a wedding cake topper of two males.
3 – I lucked out again, by being introduced to a Lesbian couple who are D.J’s and they were great!
4 – I have friends who have catering experience, so that part was easy.
Everything was going to plan.
As I mentioned earlier, I was the primary care-giver for my grandmother. She often attended a local Senior Day Care Center. It also happened to be part of an umbrella organization that I also volunteered for as a “Buddy for those living with HIV”.
One evening, the Day Care Center held a “Silent Auction”. One of the items was a “Catered Liquor Cocktail Party for 50 people” that would be catered by the wives of the Board of Directors the organization. I could not pass up this opportunity, for I had heard over the years about the “fear of diversity” within the neighborhood. In principle only, I was determined to “win” this particular item. Nick thought I was totally crazy, but he has learned over the many years we have been together that once something is in my head, I am going to do it. It really is a “small world”; a rumor got back to me, that a few of the woman were not thrilled to cater a Gay Marriage event. I made a phone call to discuss this issue with the director of the organization, and I was assured that the rumor was not true. They were going to serve drinks and be available for one hour. Much to my delight, they stayed for the entire wedding and festivities afterward, and they had a blast. I am sure several of these ladies never interacted with such a diverse crowd in their lives. Without exception, the entire catering staff (remember, these are the wives of the Board of Directors) thanked us for letting them attend the ceremony and party with us.
The bottom line of is that as a “Community”, we need to reach out in a non-threatening manner and invite people into our lives. In the words of the famous “South Pacific” song written by Rodgers and Hammerstein, “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught.”
We, as a nation, have many issues ahead of us. We are going to have to learn how to work with each other, pay attention to each other, learn from one another, and in some cases respectfully disagree with each other on some issues. But we need to learn some of the fundamentals of etiquette, agree to disagree, and to judge a person on the individual’s merits.
Marriage, as couples discover, is a learning process, like learning how to compromise, it’s sometimes not an easy venture. For example, we’re very much in the opposite attracts arena. How does one plan a honeymoon when I am a fly, land and explore person while Nick is a cruise person? I was not thrilled to prepare for a cruise, but I did find the perfect cruise on Holland America. It was a 10 day Caribbean Cruise departing from our home port. This particular sailing had a “theme”; 1930’s and 1940’s musicals. It was all about Busby Berkeley and Ziegfeld Follies movies and revues and they were running the movies 24/7 on the shipboard TV. Despite my initial fear of cruising, I found myself completely relaxed. Everything was wonderful on this Cruise Ship; we met the most charming staff and passengers. Maybe in a later post, Nick can tell you about our entrance into one of the ship’s theaters where the last night of Progressive Bingo was going on. Yes, the passengers were totally welcoming and supportive. Nick even won one round of the Bingo tournament.
I would like to send a special thank you to Anne Stanback <http://www.lmfct.org/> and her staff and volunteers for their hard work and fortitude in educating the public about the legalities of Same-Sex Marriage in Connecticut.
Filed under: GBLT, GLBT, Travel | Tagged: Anne Stanback, Guide how to get Married in Connecticut, Loves Makes a Family, Same Sex Marriage, Same Sex Marriage Legalized in Connecticut, wedding preparations | Leave a comment »