Wow! I just got back from Seattle, where my LGBT niece married her Jewish partner this weekend with the blessings of her Reform Jewish Synagogue! Please join me beneath the squiggle for all the wonderful, uplifting, inspiring details!
My niece met her wife (yay!) while wandering around Jerusalem and noticing a rainbow flag and a sign pointing up some stairs. She took the staircase and opened a door to find a gorgeous, young woman sitting behind a desk and five years later, they were officially married in their Reform Synagogue this weekend. Both their families were in attendance and joined them under the chupa. Glasses were smashed, the Ketuba was signed, toasts were raised and it was truly a joyous occassion. Grandparents attended. Brothers and sisters of the two women shared wonderful stories and the brides were both lifted on chairs as the congregation danced in circles around them.
Honestly, as a 61-year-old woman, this celebration was truly an inspiration to behold. The female, straight rabbi of this Reform congregation welcomed this ceremony with open arms. Her husband, also a rabbi, was in attendance and greeted all 130 people at the reception in the rectory of the synagogue with happiness and well wishes. My niece's father, a Conservative rabbi from Houston, TX (!) made a beautiful speech during the official ceremony, praising his wonderful daughter and telling her that her choice of spouse was perfect. There wasn't a dry eye at this ceremony and people all shouted with glee (including the over 80-year-old grandparents!) when the two girls took each others hands and ran down the aisle together with glee.
I've been to many, many weddings, but this one took the cake! It was SO personal! My niece works at the synagogue and the rabbi LOVES her. Her partner works with disabled children as a special needs teacher and they both have a wonderful LGBT community of friends who also attended the wedding and were the most lovely people there, helping wherever they could and generally being more enlightened than the rest of us! That was what was most inspiring to me. They were taking this for granted! They talked about how old-fashioned it was to even notice that same sex (or, as they called it "queer" couples) wanted to get married. Yay is all I can say about that! And though the legality of same sex marriage is being held up in a referendum to be decided in November, by signing the Ketuba, they are legally married in the eyes of their religion. They are now spending their honeymoon in Hawaii and I raised a glass to President Obama and thanked him for making his views on same sex marriage known to the world. His words were powerful and needed and I thank him for my niece and her wife.
The ceremony had all the Jewish ritual, all the respect and admiration and joy and all the love, if not more so, than all the straight weddings I've ever attended. There was lots of food and wine and song and dance and happiness and nothing but well wishes and support for the wonderful couple. My brother-in-law says he will face his Conservative congregation during the High Holy Days and give them a sermon about his views on this issue. He wants them to know that hating anyone for their sexual orientation is not okay and that they would have other thoughts if it were their son or daughter. I know there's a diary on the rec list about a father's horrible note to his gay son, but I know from witnessing a dear friend's coming out to his parents years ago that the initial reaction is often fear and backlash and even disowning or hatred, but as time goes by, giving up a son or daughter is much harder than it looks and oftentimes dissolves over time. For me, I'd much rather dance and sign and cheer and CELEBRATE LOVE than focus on fear and loathing, which I think actually makes people physically ill.
Anyway, peace and love to you all and A BIG FAT MAZEL TOV to my niece and her wife!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!