It's an act of civil disobedience;
It's an act of political theater;
It's an act of love.
My friends Stephen and Pat(rick) are going on a Wedding Tour; and it seemed to me that many of you here should know about it.
Stephen and Pat have been a couple for almost 25 years. They met as young lads back in Texas, and for decades they've lived in Hell's Kitchen in New York City, their home a warm and inviting hub for an enormous circle of creative, artistically-inclined friends and loved ones.
As their 25th anniversary approached, they came up with an idea. I'll let Stephen explain it:
These last few years, gays have become the soapbox upon which many a political campaign is built, not to mention the crucifix upon which many a religious campaign is hung. I have little to say about this except for: I am appalled. I cannot believe that it is almost 2011 and people in this country that was created by people fleeing oppression still have such widespread bigotry and judgement to pass on their fellow men and women. Women fought for equal rights, blacks fought for equal rights... the gays have been fighting for decades and we still are. How pathetic of this country to deny others inalienable rights granted to the masses. It's heartsickening and disgusting.
What is neither heartsickening or disgusting is two people in love.
That's me and Pat.
So, to celebrate our love, we decided to get married. In every state where gay marriage is permitted.
They're calling it The Wedding Tour
. Counting down to their official 25th anniversary date, Stephen and Pat are having wedding ceremonies in Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa, & D.C. (and a symbolic one in California - up yours, Prop 8!). Straight ally Allan Piper
is documenting the project for a feature-length film.
This strikes me as brilliant for a number of reasons:
It celebrates and brings business to the states that have already done the right thing by extending marriage rights to same-sex couples;
It throws a spotlight onto the rank injustice of the Defense of Marriage Act, which attacks gay people not only by preventing married couples from having their marriages recognized on a Federal level, but by allowing states to refuse to recognize perfectly legal marriages performed elsewhere;
It reminds people that this is, in the end, about love and commitment. And those are difficult things to argue against. (Poor Maggie Gallagher has to resort to things like this).The love between Stephen and Pat, and the love shown them by the army of friends who are coming together to make this happen, is an inspiring testament to the basic human decency that fuels the marriage equality effort.
Several of the weddings have already taken place: I was privileged to take part in the Vermont and New Hampshire weddings back in December. I haven't the writerly gift to convey here how deeply moving and totally unique each event was; I hope one day you'll be able to see it for yourself in the documentary.
Since then, they've done ceremonies in Iowa and Massachusetts, and have traveled to Texas for important conversations with their biological families. (I'm hopeful that they'll have to add Maryland to their itinerary as well -- see jpmassar's excellent diary here for how to take action on this TODAY.)
So here's the thing: the entire Wedding Tour, including the making of the documentary, is completely self-financed. That's a lot of plane tickets, car rentals, meals, license fees, camera equipment, batteries, and god knows what else. These guys aren't A-List fabulosi throwing Sex and the City 2-type weddings with Liza and swans; they're artists (actor and photographer) who work survival jobs and have lived in the same Hell's Kitchen walkup for two decades, and this is all being done on a shoe-string budget with a lot of help from their friends. Allan is a freelance filmmaker and editor who's making this documentary and shouldering the cost because he believes it's important. If you agree, could you maybe help them out with a donation? Following that link will take you to the honeyfund site where friends and supporters can give. I know they'd appreciate it.
The Wedding Tour has already meant a lot to the people who know and love Pat and Stephen; but for it to have any effect as an act of protest, as an act of civil disobedience, and as a humanizing portrait that can change hearts and minds, PEOPLE NEED TO SEE IT. Which means the documentary needs to get made.
Once again, if you can help by throwing them a couple of bucks to keep it going, please do.
You can also "Like" The Wedding Tour on facebook.
There are other ways you can help as well:
Iowa needs our help to protect the right to marry;
Prop 8 needs to be struck down;
The awesome Senator Gillibrand has launched RepealDOMA.com as part of a legislative repeal effort (a long way off, granted, but you gotta start somewhere),
and GLAD can use your support for the legal fight.
I think they're doing a really cool thing, and it would be great if the wider world new about it. So this is my little effort to help make that happen.
Updated by Zooey Glass at Wed Mar 9, 2011, 07:58:12 AM
The documentary now has a title - Married and Counting - and a trailer!