Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Petra in the USA: goin’ to the chapel

My best friend Sylvia got married to Jane Gillette on the 11 October 2008, and I am more pleased than I can say that I was able to fly home to Massachusetts, USA, to be her Honor Attendant (like Matron of Honor, but without being forced to be matronly). Sylvia met me at the airport with my parents when I arrived the Wednesday evening before the wedding, and we were basically together continuously from then until she and Jane took off for their well-deserved “mini-moon” at the end of the reception three days later: three perfect, amazing, exciting and joyful days.

Highlights, for me, included:
-Helping Jane’s dad select an appropriate wedding hat from his impressive collection,
-Enacting the wedding ceremony on Sylvia and Jane’s coffee table with Jane’s specially designed paper dolls – a sort of pre-rehearsal rehearsal,
-Constructing practice “bouquets” for the actual rehearsal from pipe cleaners, ribbons, shoe-box packaging and – if memory serves – at least one crystal doorknob,
-Doing Sylvia’s hair for the ceremony: 39 bobby pins!
-Plotting with fellow honor attendant (Jane’s sister Katie) to augment the …celebratory spirit and romantic atmosphere… of Sylvia’s car for the big day (balloons, streamers, bells, and a truly exceptional CD of love songs).
-That Sylvia and Jane asked me to lead the Passing-the-Light ceremony at the rehearsal luncheon and to give a toast at the reception. While I’m pleased that I seem to have pulled off both respectably, the highlight is the fact of their asking, which meant more to me than I can really express without devolving completely into embarrassingly melodramatic verbiage that would convince no one of my sincerity regardless of how genuine I actually feel.

And of course the biggest highlight was the wedding itself: being part of a great mob of nearest and dearest, dedicating time to celebrate the incredible fact that Sylvia and Jane have found each other, loved each other, and decided to build their lives together.

There was nothing 'political' about their wedding, but unfortunately politics encroach nonetheless. As the election results have come in in the weeks since the wedding, the memories of the celebration become even more poignant with California’s adoption of Proposition 8 and additional, equivalent bans in Florida and Arizona. The strength of Jane and Sylvia’s commitment is even more apparent in contrast to the fragility of its legal recognition (though since they live in Massachusetts, they are currently safer than they would be if they lived in California).

I hope that we can all renew our commitment to protecting same-sex marriage and the rights of same-sex couples, for the sake of Sylvia and Jane, for the sake of me and my wife Erika, and for all of the other same-sex couples out there.

Most of the best photos are credit the wedding photographer, Andy Taylor; others yanked from Facebook.