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A happy couple I know celebrates their first wedding anniversary soon and I wish them all the best. I don't have to tell them how lucky they are to have found each other; they know that already.

On the face of it you might guess they come from different worlds - Chris, a childhood friend, is an expert gardener and talented nature photographer, John owns his own management consulting firm - but they were clearly meant to be together.

As befits the couple's personalities, the ceremony was simple yet spiritual, followed by a traditional reception held in a green and lovely spot adjacent to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York. God smiled on the festivities and made his wedding gift a day of glorious weather. The two families, now one by marriage, and their guests chatted and dined and celebrated their joy together. John’s cut-up uncle (isn't there one at every wedding?) told groan-worthy jokes and entertained the youngsters, and Chris’ teenaged niece overcame her jitters to sing “At Last” to enthusiastic applause. Every guest received a plant, potted specially by Chris for the occasion, to take home as a living souvenir.

At the end of the day Chris and John kissed for a few final photographs, then took off for upstate New York to begin their honeymoon. After the reception Chris’ mother gushed about what a great and happy occasion it had been and how Chris' late father would have been so proud. I am certain he watched from above, and you can be sure he was positively beaming.

Did I mention that Chris and John are gay? Should that matter?

No families were wrenched apart that day, no children scarred or corrupted. No Bibles burst into flame, no one’s faith was challenged or shattered. No institutions toppled, no social constructs collapsed into chaos. No marauding bands of gays dragged unwilling citizens off to be forced into homosexual unions. No straight people turned gay and no gay people turned straight. But everyone, gay or straight, felt the radiating warmth of love joyfully shared and celebrated.

The following morning the sun came up again and the borough of Brooklyn and the rest of New York State were all still there, intact and unharmed. People rose and went to work or to church or sat themselves in front of the television as they do every day. Children played in the schoolyard or in the street, and traffic moved sluggishly along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway as it always does. The United States of America had managed to avoid social ruination and moral bankruptcy. The only thing different was that there was one more married couple in the world.

Why is that still such a threatening thing to some people?

The Supreme Court begins hearing oral arguments on California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act today. A nation of other Chrises and Johns, of other gay men and women, of families and friends of gay Americans, of a clear majority of citizens, gay and straight, who just happen to believe in the basic rights and dignity and fairness for all that America is supposed to represent, await the Court's decision.


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Originally posted to Richard Riis on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 08:26 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality and Community Spotlight.

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