The air conditioning wasn't the greatest at this facility so those tuxedos were little sauna suits as we stood shifting our weight every so often as not to pass out. The minister was an older, dignified gentleman of Caribbean descent and there was both a distinguished character and a rhythmic quality in the words he delivered. After a few minutes, another minister came to the podium to deliver the charge and charged up, he left many but for an entirely different reason.
With a much thicker accent and more difficult to understand for those unfamiliar with the Caribbean accent, he started off the charge to the bride and groom talking about Thomas. Or I should say Tomas or Toma as I heard it. A sentence later, I realized he was talking about DOMA and that the Supreme Court of the United States had struck down what Bill Clinton (not President Clinton) had done in 1996 to protect marriage between a man and a woman. He then commended them for even getting married because "many" do not believe marriage is even important nowadays. He then quoted an article from Newsweek or U.S. News and World Report and by now it is visible on the faces of many in this event center that this guy was just plain ridiculous. Never mind the fact that he is arguing in one breath that those "other" people should not be allowed to get traditionally married and in the other breath that "many" believe marriage isn't even important, that you can just shack up as my Big Mama used to say.
So as the wedding reception began with hors d'oeuvres on the outside while the bridal party left in SUVs for additional pictures, one of the groomsman remarked how beautiful the ceremony was and another said that it was perfection.
The groom then remarked, "Yeah, except for one thing." I thought he was going to talk about how much he paid for the wedding and the fact that the air conditioning didn't even come close to doing the job.
"What was with the whole political gay marriage speech in the middle of my fricking ceremony? Did anybody tell this guy, who wasn't even the minister that counseled us and married us, that he could hijack my damn ceremony to talk about gay marriage?"
Every one of the groomsmen chimed in, in agreement.
"That was uncalled for," one person said.
"Man, that was completely ridiculous," another one said.
"So it don't matter if we have gay friends or guests in the audience. I got this captive audience and I'm gonna get up on my soapbox and ram this down your throats," I said last. "It reminds me of the time I got up and left out of a church because the minister said we weren't praying enough for President George W. Bush."
"I remember that," the groom said. "I had just got back from my second tour in Iraq and I'm like who is this dude to tell me that I ain't praying enough for George W. Bush. Praying I ain't gotta go back to Iraq or worse, Afghanistan."
We rode on to the location for the shoot. A red bricked road and older building in Longwood, FL. We came back and danced the night away.
I talked to the groom this morning as they headed to catch the Celebration cruise ship to the Bahamas. I found out that the bridesmaids vehicle had a similar conversation as well as several people at the wedding reception.
Earlier in the day, minutes before we walked proudly down the aisle and stood at parade rest, eyes front, waiting for the bride to enter, I gathered the groomsmen and led them in prayer for our brother about to embark upon this beautiful journey, to share his life with another human being, to start a family and pursue his dream. And not once did I think, when I asked the Universe to reveal, protect and bless this union, to mention DOMA or Newsweek; to ask the Lord to protect us from the assault on marriage or that I can't hardly even be Christian anymore.