If you are gay, the topic of marriage can be a powder keg waiting to explode. Especially if it is your own. Experience has taught me that being married to a woman is not always acceptable for a variety of reasons and the objections are often rooted in religion. More on that later.
My wife is an event photographer. Part of my role as a model wife includes assisting her on bigger jobs either as second camera, or more often than not, as the person lugging her equipment to and fro the car and throughout the venues.
I am happy to help, especially since her breast cancer diagnosis and double mastectomy. Best I can tell, we have handled this health crisis very similarly to how a straight couple in a similar situation would. Providing your marriage is in a good place, you take care of your spouse. Period. Easy call.
Last weekend my wife photographed a wedding for friends of ours. It was the first since her surgery so I went along to help. And, it turns out, to keep my eye on her. It was a long day and she is notorious for forgetting to eat and pushing herself for the clients. Admittedly, she cannot be trusted to take breaks while working.
After careful thought and consideration, I realized I have become a full-fledged helicopter wife. I am in full protect her mode and noticing a growing level of worry for her while she is working long hours. Or running to the store. Or lifting a pan out of a kitchen cabinet. Or brushing her teeth. Or putting her shoes on. Isn’t this normal spouse behavior? Help me out here.
Most days I believe my vigilance and concern is perfectly reasonable, rationale, and completely justified behavior given recent circumstances. Cancer sucks. It is hard. This is my person.
Then there are the days when my wife looks at me like I am crazy when I offer to take the orange juice out of her hands and pour it for her. These are the moments when I realize I may be going slightly overboard and need to get a grip. And a refresher course in the art of calming the hell down.
For one day, I resisted the urge to hover and calmed down a bit. Then she had to shoot the wedding. I hit the pause button and was back to my old tricks. Some habits are hard to break.
I arrived at the wedding just in time to meet her at the car to unload the gear for the post ceremony shots. Phew. I offered to carry her on my back like Luke Skywalker did Yoda, but she declined. Lately the only thing that reduces my anxiety is to have eyes on her and to physically be where she is.
Watching her take pictures is my happy place. Same sex weddings are special to us and bring up all the feels, for both ourselves and the couple tying the knot.
The brides and the ceremony were beautiful. The venue was filled with family, friends, and loved ones. The vibe was awesome and contagious. While there, we reflected on our own wedding, relationship, and everything we have gone through in the past six years.
In one moment, I felt overwhelming joy for our amazing friends and was in awe of their love for one another. In the next moment, I was struck by a wave of anger and sadness. Where was this coming from? It just so happens that one of the bride’s parents chose not to attend the wedding of their daughter. You know, gay wedding.
The rising rage was fueled by the rapid succession of questions popping in to my head as I looked around and felt the connection between the couple from the back of the room. How can people say this is wrong? Why do people choose religion over their loved ones? Where is Yvette? Why can’t people stop judging things?
Clearly, I was projecting my own feelings about how our marriage has been viewed by some family and friends who still fail to acknowledge or accept our marriage as a valid because we are both women.
Same sex marriage may be legal, but it is still not readily accepted, and flat out rejected, by many in our society. Moving about the world as a gay couple is not for the faint of heart. For as many who are out and open, there are just as many who do not feel safe in public.
For those who may struggle with the idea of gay marriage, or homosexuality in general, this message is for you. Start with thinking about the million other aspects of a marriage that have nothing to do with the “unnatural” sex that takes place with same sex couples.
Ask yourself if not attending a gay wedding will be worth the resulting hurt, anger, or strain on the relationship. Consider whether or not you would like being judged by who you choose to love. Think about why your reaction to homosexuality is so severe and whether it is going to cause pain and loss to loved ones.
Look down the road and ask yourself if your actions are really in alignment with your beliefs. Revisit the verses in God’s book that talk about love, not judging, and being kind. If all else fails, fake it. Rest assured that “supporting” another’s choice to marry who they love will actually have zero impact on where you end up in the afterlife. God is love.
Contrary to popular belief, attending a same sex marriage does not mean you are committing a sin against God. If you believe homosexuality is wrong, don’t be gay.
Choosing judgment, hate, and religion over love for family and friends sucks. Stop it. Love is love. Marriage is marriage. Gay or straight. Regardless of your faith tradition, upbringing, or background, be kind always. Kindness includes learning how to choose people over principles and is the only way to begin to remedy and prevent future hurt to family, friends, and strangers alike.
The beauty, emotion, and support present on Saturday night was palpable. The room was filled with love and was present in every person, detail, sight, and sound. It was real. Like their marriage. Like my own marriage. Like the marriages of every same sex couple who are brave enough to stand up and proclaim their love and commitment to each other. Even in the face of hate, rejection, or condemnation.
Love wins always.
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