In my last post, I shouted-out to my mom – who brought our recent wedding to life with flowers (and in many other wonderful ways). In this post, I’d like to thank Dad. Because of him, I think I understand something I’ve been working on for awhile.
In 2004, when Leanne and I were walking down to City Hall on that beautiful Valentine’s Day, we were so excited — we were calling our whole family on our cell phones and telling them to get down to San Francisco as soon as they could to watch us get married! It was a spur of the moment — not exactly an elopement — but a real wedding. Not exactly legal though, as was determined later that year in August.
And my dad was not exactly thrilled. “Oh — You’re getting married,” he said, dot, dot, dot… His hesitance threw me. My parents have always been my biggest fans and love me and Leanne and our relationship in every way. I was confused at his reaction, and they didn’t make it down to San Francisco that day.
People asked me why was that? Why did he not come? We love your dad; he loves you. I puzzled too. Until just recently. Dad and Mom and family and friends turned out in flying colors for our wedding on October 5, 2008. And now I think I understand.
Of course: They don’t ever want to see their daughter hurt, neither by prejudice, nor by categorization into something lesser. Getting married on Valentine’s Day in 2004 was very special, but it wasn’t planned ahead, it wasn’t a party in front of all of our friends, and it wasn’t legal in the end. That’s not what they wanted to see for their daughter.
As Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the NCLR, said recently:
“Marriage is the institution and the vocabulary that we use to denote the highest level of a commitment between two people. It is what we do… This is about us and our relationships being able to be validated in the same way. No dad ever said ‘I can’t wait to dance at my daughter’s civil-union-domestic-partner-commitment ceremony.’ We dance at our children’s weddings. We get married.”
We quoted this passage at our wedding on October 5. My Dad can be heard laughing with joy at it in our wedding video. We played Sunrise, Sunset; I danced with my father. It was a beautiful day in every way, and it marked our legal marriage. And, I realize now, it was just as important to my parents as it was to Leanne and me.
I believe people know in their hearts what is right – even if they have to go through pain and discomfort to get there. It may take time, and it will take compassion, but we’ll get there, world. This is a simple message about love.