This is going to be sappy. You’ve been warned.
On Saturday I witnessed the most remarkable thing I’ve ever seen in my life, and I’ve seen Niagra Falls, the Colosseum, andan N’Sync concert.
On Saturday one of my best friends in the world – Mike – married the love of his life – John – on a cliff in Malibu overlooking what may as well have been the mountains of Chile, that’s how gorgeous it was.
They were married by their close friend, David Marshall Grant. Twenty years ago the sight of two men in the same bed on the prime time series thirtysomethingcaused advertisers to pull their ads and, on the flipside, saw a broadcast network sticking by the scene and making television history. One of the actors in that scene was David.
Their flower girl, Evelyn, is the daughter of David and his partner KC. On the day of the wedding ceremony rehearsal Evelyn turned to me and said, “aren’t my Daddy and my Poppa so great?!” Evelyn is three.
In the crowd facing Michael and John as they spoke their vows were 150+ people who flew from far and wide (literally, France), to witness this special moment. For most among them this was the very first marriage between two men that they ever witnessed. I overheard one of the older guests say to a younger attendee, “I lived through the Civil Rights moment, and now I’ve lived through this. We live in a great country.”
It is incredible to be living through this progress. Absolutely incredible.
But it was not an easy road to arrive at the point where Mike can legally marry John before all their loved ones. Knowing that, they decided to incorporate a reading into their ceremony that was created from statements made by judges and lawyers in our nation’s courtrooms as the fight to legalize same-sex marriage was fought. And they asked me to read that statement. I’m including it here because to me, it represents exactly what was so remarkable about this event. It’s not just that same sex marriage is now legal, it’s why and how the legalization of same-sex marriage benefits and defines all marriage.
The Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly described the right to marriage as… a “basic civil right;” … an expression of emotional support and public commitment; the exercise of spiritual unity; and a fulfillment of one’s self. In short… marriage is “the most important relation in life,” …. [It] is central to life in America.
Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family.
Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.
Recognizing the right of an individual to marry a person of the same sex will not diminish the validity or dignity of opposite-sex marriage. If anything, extending civil marriage to same-sex couples reinforces the importance of marriage to individuals and communities. That same-sex couples are willing to embrace marriage’s solemn obligations of exclusivity, mutual support, and commitment to one another is a testament to the enduring place of marriage in our laws and in the human spirit.
After I finished the reading the crowd erupted into a wild applause. It was the absolute perfect reaction.
In 10 days I will be married, too, and I’m so glad that R and I will make our commitment to each other after Mike and John made theirs. Everything about their day reminded me what this momentous act of self-definition is really all about. After the planning, stressing, spending and praying for good weather, it’s about standing in front of your world and saying, “we chose each other, and we believe that choice will make this whole world a much better place.”
It’s already better because Mike and John are husband and husband, and I couldn’t be more excited to join the party next week.