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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 01/21/2011

A wedding like any other

By Tom Moriarty, Salisbury

Apparently, a week or so before his wedding, a friend of mine got fed up with all the decisions he had to make about this and that, about who would take care of the music at the ceremony, what would happen at the reception, and when — we have to know when! — dinner would be served, toasts offered, the cake cut and the first dance begun.

And so he complained, just a little bit, from what I hear, about how he wanted it to unfold organically, to come together on its own. Cooler heads prevailed, however, and he was gently reminded that there is nothing natural, or organic, about a big wedding. It’s an event — a happy one, to be sure — but one that requires precision and planning, lest some vital detail be forgotten, or some important guest be slighted or unnecessarily inconvenienced.

The minister knew how these things go. When the happy couple finally walked down the aisle, she encouraged them to pause for a moment, before the ceremony began, to take a look around and see what they had done.  

“All the planning and stress is over,” she said. “Today is your day to enjoy it.”

And enjoy it they did. My friend was an English major back in the day, and the ceremony was filled with extended readings — some in Middle English — from First Samuel and First Corinthians, Plato, Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and William Meredith, as well as traditional and popular music from when the two of them were young. The ring bearer was 4 years old, and she performed her duties admirably. The vows were sweet and heartfelt, and the sermon was mercifully short, especially after all that reading.

As we walked two short blocks from the ceremony to the reception, my wife asked how long they’d been together. “I dunno,” I said. “Maybe 10 years. I know it’s been a while.”

I tell this story because every wedding has some drama and some short-lived misery, and then everything works out, at least for the most part, and everybody’s so happy on the couple’s big day. And every wedding goes on, a bit too long, about man and wife, starting a new life, together forever, till death do us part (or we find someone better).

This one was no different, except for one thing: There was no she. Only he and he. Not man and wife, but man and man, committing to each other for life. For this was a gay wedding, the first I’ve attended, in Washington, D.C.

I know some may disagree, as Maryland considers the question of same-sex marriage, but I can’t see how this is a threat to you or me, my marriage or my family. It’s just another couple declaring their love publicly, in front of friends and family and the community. Just another couple — part of our wondrous humanity — standing up and joining the rest of us in holy matrimony.

By Tom Moriarty, Salisbury  | January 21, 2011; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  D.C., Maryland  
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...but I can’t see how this is a threat to you or me...
I agree wholeheartedly. May they continue to have a happy life together.

Posted by: mbrumble | January 21, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

A brilliant essay, Mr. Moriarty. One for the ages.

Posted by: kep1 | January 21, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Nicely done! Haven't seen one heterosexual marriage collapse due to a gay marriage yet. Congrats to the happy grooms. Now let's repeal DOMA so they actually have some rights.

Posted by: Packersfan1 | January 21, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Having also attended this wedding, my first gay wedding, I was surprised how identical it was to so many other weddings I have attended throughout my life. The history, courtship, jobs, travel, friends, hobbies for the same sex couple were the same as opposite sex couples. They had the same wishes: a life time commitment in front of family and friends, a sane wedding and reception with no meltdowns, having a good time. I did not feel threatened even once, that they now had this right. I just felt their marriage was right.

Posted by: Iamnobodywhoareyou | January 21, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I have no problems with gay marriage, but it should be done through vote of the people or legislature, rather than by the courts pulling rabbits out of hats.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | January 21, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse


What do you think the vote would have been in Alabama to end segregation? SOme things cannot be left to majority rule, and that is why we live in a republic and not a pure democracy.

Posted by: Packersfan1 | January 21, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Why should "the people " vote on whether or not I'm allowed to get married to another human being? That's what we're talking about here, not dogs or cats or even inanimate objects. Please people, wake up, it's 2011.

Posted by: Secure-1 | January 22, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

And like any other guests at any other wedding reception, we raised our glasses to toasts both tender and randy, ate together and cheered when the lovely couple cut the cake, maybe had too much or too little to drink, and danced with abandon...just like any other American family.

Posted by: Witness2 | January 22, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure whom I'm prouder of - the couple that chose to commit themselves for life despite a host of challenges, or the author of this tender, thoughful piece. Kudos, to all!

Posted by: dmnewton1 | January 23, 2011 8:13 AM | Report abuse

As one of the former grooms (now a husband "de jure" as well as "de facto") to which this piece pertains, I would like to thank the author for his thoughtful meditation on the experience. I would also like to thank the many other supportive participants at the celebration of our wedding. My husband and I were deeply touched by their explosive enthusiasm once we pronounced our vows and the officiant signed our certificate. The outpouring of such joy gives the two of us hope that our home state of Maryland will do the right thing this year, and recognize our marriage where we live. Of course, until the nation as a whole embraces its better nature, too many couples will have to make do with a separate-but-(un)equal substitute or worse, absolutely no civil validation of their relationships. Keep the conversation going for their sake.

Posted by: jaspert | January 23, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

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