27 June 2010

Wedding Belles

Yesterday I went to my friends Christine and Hannah's wedding out in Kingston. It was a beautiful occasion. Lovely weather, fantastic food, the ceremony was touching, personal moving.

I first met Christine in college. We lived in the same house. I had just returned from a three year hiatus to finish my last two years, Christine (Christie, as I've always known her) was a senior. We hit it off immediately. Without getting into the particulars, (because they aren't relevant to the post, really), Christine went to bat for me and stood up for me when she saw that someone in a position of authority treated me unfairly. In short, she wrote a letter to Important-type people, and pointed out a wrong. I didn't know she had done this until a few years ago. I should have known, though. Christine is a fiercely loyal and loving friend.

Bea, Ingrid, Mr. E and I all attended the wedding. We sat at the table with a group of women that Christine befriended when she came out for the second time. We all joked that she has terrible taste in men, and as it's always best for one to be true to herself, we're happy and relieved she finally found her true love. As much as I hate the winters here, and the fact that New England isn't my first choice of a where I'd live, I love that in Massachusetts, two people who love each other can get married, even if they're the same gender. Bea and Ingrid didn't ask any confused questions about two women getting married. Ingrid loves weddings, because she gets to dress up, dance, play with flowers, and eat delicious food (I think once she drops the hula girl astronaut aspirations, she may well seek a career in professional party planning, culinary arts, fine food critique, etc.) I don't think she really noticed, at least not how I might have noticed when I was her age or Bea's age. Is it possible that marriage equality will be the norm for my kids? Insha'allah.

During the ceremony, the minister praised Christine and Hannah for their bravery and boldness that they would make their union so public. Massachusetts exists somewhat in an equality utopia that hasn't spread to the rest of the country, nor has it spread to all aspects of attributes that makes us humans unique and different. We're making progress, though. Homophobia still exists, even in the happy Valley and beyond its borders.

I wonder how many generations it will be before the minister can drop the bravery and boldness piece of the ceremony. Mr. E and I got married 31 years after the Supreme Court's landmark decision in the Loving v. Virginia case. We didn't feel particularly brave or bold for marrying people not of our race. On the other hand, while interracial marriage is more common racism is alive and doing very well, thanks for asking.

Putting on my optimist's smile and a cliche on my tongue. The best way to destroy hate is with love.

What's the second best? Being comfortable with our differences, and that means to acknowledge them. We aren't ready for colorblindness. We aren't ready to say, "it's no big deal that two men or two women can marry". It's a big deal, and not because it should be a big deal when anyone decides to marry. Being married is part of one's identity. I am a wife, mother, African American, person of faith, gamer, homeowner, woman. My identity depends on my own definition as well as my relationships with people.

I look forward to many visits with Christine and Hannah. I am so happy for them. What a privilege it is to be part of their loving circle of friends and family.

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