Recently, the California Supreme Court overruled a law that prohibited gay people from getting married. Many straight people were stunned to find out that this had absolutely no effect whatsoever on the sanctity of their own marriages. As a straight man married to a straight woman, I was confident that if gay people were allowed to marry, I would still be married, and I would still be straight. In fact, I was pretty sure that gay marriage would really have no negative effect on me whatsoever. And what do you know, I was right. Go figure.
I can’t claim to be impartial on this issue. Four years ago, when Lucas was born, we knew that we needed to appoint him a set of godparents. Our requirements were pretty straightforward: whoever we entrusted to raise our kids in the event of our deaths had to be…well, people that we’d want raising our kids. Intelligent. Loving. Tolerant and open-minded. Someone that would be a friend, a mentor, a coach, a teacher, a wonderful parent in every sense of the word. It took us all of twenty seconds to figure out who those people would be. Lucas would eventually call them “CC” and “Hilly”. We’ve known them for…wow, ever, it seems. They are two of our best friends, a devoted and loving couple who, it’s safe to say, we’d down our lives for, knowing that they’d do the same for us in return. They have been family to us in every sense of the word, and it was really no choice at all. Lucas and Zoe would have two Godmommies.
This past weekend, Carin and Hillary got married. Beth was their wedding coordinator, and she and I were in the ceremony; we were, according to the program, Flower Fairies. Yep, I walked down the aisle ahead of them, basket filled with rose petals in hand, strewing them along the pathway as we went. (To a rousing round of applause, I might add. Those petals ain’t gonna strew themselves, and I took my job very seriously; good spacing, no bunching, no going outside the lines. You can’t trust a kid to do this stuff, not if you want it done right.)
Usness. It was a word used during the ceremony, describing Carin and Hillary’s relationship, their love for each other. Usness. I like it. The idea that THE person is out there for you, and that the two of you exist on a level that is above the opinions or judgments or approvals of others. That any of us are able to find Usness these days is extraordinary. And what was extraordinary about Carin and Hillary’s wedding – CC and Hilly, who we love so much that we would entrust them with our children – was not the fact that it actually happened. I truly believe that the age of fear and ignorance is on the wane, and that the state court’s decision is the result of that, and not the catalyst. No, what was extraordinary about CC and Hilly’s wedding was how, for lack of a better word, ordinary it was. Two people who love each other deeply, exchanging vows and rings, signifying the permanence of that love. It was a beautiful, simple, traditional (yes) ceremony, in many ways like my wedding, or like yours, or like millions of others. It was a time-honored declaration of Usness from two people who, like the rest of us, all of us, deserve to be happy.