A couple days ago, Rob told me that there was going to be a Big Gay Wedding at the state capital, the afternoon of July 4.
I began to have an immediate panic attack. Of course I wanted to go. Of course, I wanted to be one of the couples married at the state capital on Independence Day (talk about an anniversary I won't forget). And, of course, I was nervous about doing anything so public. But how many chances do you get to be part of Austin's Big Gay 4th of July Wedding????
I'm learning not to overthink things. So, we went into a state of denial yesterday morning. Rob was excited. I was excited, but really, neither one of us wanted to talk about it much. So, I quilted and Rob washed the cars and we went out for barbecue lunch (I was not cooking on my wedding day!) And in the afternoon, we dressed in red, white and blue, and we went to get "hitched".
About mid morning, I made him take off his ring. We exchanged rings as a sign of our commitment about 12 years ago. I wanted to get new rings for our official marriage, but we didn't have time. I mean, can you believe all this has happened in a week?!?!?! So, we took our rings off, put them in a small Ziploc, and put them in the envelope with the marriage license. They aren't new rings. And, there may never be new rings. That part doesn't matter. But, I wanted us to be able to exchange rings at the ceremony, and what we had was what we had. Better than a cigar band, right?
It was a nervous ride there. You can imagine. We parked a couple of times. Even had a small argument (I'm betting that's why they don't usually let the bride and the groom come to the wedding in the same car). But, the important thing is that we got there.
Loved this sign!
There were probably 35 couples getting married and ten times that many people there to witness.
I looked across the group and saw a guy from my office. My first thought was "I always thought he was straight.". Okay, talk about assuming making an ass out of me... he was there to get married at the Big Gay Wedding event... to his new WIFE! So absolutely COOL! The first time I walked up and shook his hand, I'm not sure he quite knew what to do. He was kinda strange and distant. But, later, I guess he remembered seeing me at the office and walked over and we joked about being able to remind one another of our anniversary and I introduced Rob and he introduced his lady.
There was this little girl, maybe 7 years old, that I'd seen handing out flowers. I heard several couples say, "oh, I read about you on Facebook.". I hadn't. When she walked up to us with the last bouquet, lovely red and yellow roses, I didn't really know what to say. I wasn't really all that keen on carrying flowers... Then, Rob started to talk to her. She held fundraisers to make money to buy flowers to give to people at this gay marriage event. So, when I heard her story, I couldn't help but take the flowers she offered and thank her profusely, and make sure she knew how special we thought her gesture was. We talked to her Mom a little. A couple years ago, when it looked like same gender marriage was going to be legal here, she raised funds for flowers for same gender weddings. But, that all fell through. So, this year, when the Mom said that the weddings were back on, the little girl wanted to raise money and hand out flowers. There were several men there, graciously holding flowers they would not have chosen, including the very cute male couple that got the bunch of sunflowers. So, we were in good company.
The wedding was being held on a cement platform that has a five pointed star of Texas set into it. They had us all line up on the pavement, and then walk onto the platform, as a group, and stand in pairs while the orchestra played the wedding march.
Yes, we did think to take our caps off while the other couples were walking in.
They started by reading the last paragraph from the SCOTUS decision on gay marriage.
No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilizations oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.(Justice Kennedy really did us proud, huh?)
Then, we turned to our partners and held hands and repeated these vows:
Today, as freely as I was given life, I join my life with yours, to stand by your side, to listen when you speak, to comfort you when you cry, and to join your laughter with my own. Today, I choose you, Rob, to be my husband.
I promise to live by your side, to be the joy of your heart, the sustenance of your world and the best person I can be for you. Wherever you go, I will go; whatever you face, I will face.
I will be the shoulder you lean on, the rock on which you rest, the companion of your life. I promise to hold you gently and lovingly until our days on earth are over.
Rob, take this ring as a symbol of my promise, my loyalty, and my commitment to our love and our life together.
Then, she said;
Turn for a moment and look around you... notice your friends, your families, and the groups of other well wishers. Stand quietly. Feel the generous gift of our love coming your way from all directions... this is the feeling of a community of support for each marriage here, and we promise, each to each, to remind one another of the promises of the love this day brings.
By the power vested in us by the Supreme Court of the United States and the laws of the state of Texas, we now pronounce you married! Please kiss now!And, just like that, we were formally married.
After that, there was a crush of people around the officiants to have our licenses signed.
This is Judy. She married us the second time.
And, when we were done there, it was all over, except the smiling...
oh, and the obligatory Mexican food dinner with margaritas that's become traditional, every time we get married.
I leave you with this picture, because I think it best sums up the day. Lots of images in there. Lots of things happened yesterday. Made more historic because it was so special for me.
Rob's wedding gift to me was to arrange for fireworks to be set off all over the city, after dark. And, he's arranged to have them go off every year hereafter. Isn't it great!
He's such a card.
Everybody have a great Sunday. Lane