Last weekend I attended my first gay wedding. It was a splendid affair, sophisticated and elegant, played out in the faux Gothic surroundings of a chic East Village Hotel in Lower Manhattan.
One groom, my play nephew (I have been a close family friend from his childhood) exchanged vows of commitment with his partner of 23 years, whom he had met in college at Yale University. The ceremony was witnessed by family; mother, father, sister, cousins, uncles, aunts, friends and colleagues. The event was memorable for its haute cuisine, entertainment, dancing, tales of friendship and love, memories of loved ones past, and inspirational for its stories of personal growth.
It was marvelously similar to any celebration of marriage carried out in our cultural traditions down the ages. And, that for me was its greatest triumph.
It is unfortunate that the well meaning folks who oppose gay marriage on religious or other ground, who view it as breaching the most basic rule of our social fabric, never experience first hand that it is the thread that stitches together one of the holes in our social compact through which our marginalized members have been falling.
Gay people are people too created in the image of God.
I can attest that nobody chooses to be gay despite what fringe propaganda may claim.
Affirming gay unions through marriage equality supports and sustains the institution of marriage. It is a statement that society supports committed relationships, and those relationships foster the development of healthy lifestyles, attitudes, and examples that benefit us all.
Gay marriage could only threaten heterosexual relationships if somehow it made being gay attractive to heterosexuals.
The moralists have charged for years that gay people were promiscuous and bereft of traditional moral values and yet they make every effort to deny them the opportunity to adhere to the most cherished moral value; commitment to the one you love.
For some, it comes down to a sincere literal reading of some sacred text which condemns homosexuality. But all texts, sacred and otherwise, are subject to interpretation based on context. To my knowledge God has never dictated a script to anyone.
The essence of all sacred traditions is love, manifested by living in a way that affirms the human dignity of everyone. In the Christian tradition, that is the true spirit of all ten commandments and the golden rule.
The realm of the spirit is one of art, not science; and it is filled with mysteries of faith, not mathematical equations. Its purpose is to support abundant life rather than to condemn lifestyle, and its mantra is one of love not of hate.
My first gay wedding was truly a spiritual experience.