I have written on this blog that I do not like to attend weddings — most particularly, I detest traditional wedding receptions. I don’t like dressing up in a suit, fakey people, drinking alcohol, the food (usually not food I can eat), and dancing.
But I have made an exception to my “no wedding” rule in that on this coming Saturday, I will be attending a marriage ceremony, and I will be a best man to two men. What?
Yep, my buddies Chad and Tom, the firefighter and motorcop about whom I have written about before on this blog, will have a marriage ceremony performed in the fire house where Chad works.
This is rather amazing, because it was not that long ago that Chad was concerned about coming out to his co-workers and how having a relationship with a man would be accepted.
Tom, the cop, said that his boss and some others in his chain of command in the police department will be coming, as well as his family and some close friends. Again, this is outstanding, because Tom was very very concerned about acceptance of his sexual orientation within the ranks of a paramilitary organization. But with persistence, time, and gentle introduction, Tom’s colleagues saw Tom as the same guy they knew all along, but with a new spirit — a man in love.
We have observed in the United States as a whole how rapidly the acceptance of same-sex marriage has moved from the “abhor/avoid/abomination” factor to “okay, so what, no big deal” factor. Granted, same-sex marriage is not embraced everywhere by everyone, but at least in our state (Maryland) where same-sex marriage was approved by a majority of the popular vote of state voters in 2012, it really is “no big deal.”
I have been meeting with Tom and Chad over time, giving advice and counsel. They have met my spouse and me together, and observe how our relationship as marital partners has become deep and continues to have abiding and devoted love. They have learned that “regular guys” can have a productive, happy, marriage and do not need (or want) frilly-froo froo flowery gushy over-the-top hyper-gay “enthusiasm.” (You know what I mean. While I hate stereotypes, there are many such stereotypes that have a grounding in observable behavior.)
So Saturday afternoon, my spouse and I will … (uggghhh) dress up in suits … and make our way over to the fire house where Chad works. A friend with whom I grew up who performed the marriage ceremony for my spouse and me — a county judge — will perform the marriage ceremony for Chad and Tom. It will be a civil ceremony, not a religious one. And it will be a “marriage ceremony” — not a wedding.
Both Chad and Tom asked if I would stand with them, sort of as their “best man.” Each of them told me that they saw me as a mentor and a friend, and wanted to honor me by asking me to stand by their side during the ceremony. Of course I’ll do that — I am truly touched by their request and recognition.
After the ceremony, the auxiliary of Chad’s FD will provide light refreshments and snacks (firefighters and cops don’t call them Hors d’oeuvres). Perhaps some music to listen to, but not to dance, will be played on a sound system. Sounds like a nice event is planned, and well within my and my spouse’s comfort zone.
I suggested that Tom take his new husband away after the ceremony on his police motorcycle… that would be “interesting.” But Tom reminded me that police bikes do not have a passenger seat. I am working on an alternative solution using my Harley-Davidson Road King… we’ll see what happens.
Inside, my heart is happy that this is working out for two great, regular, normal guys. Taking the leap into marriage is a huge step, but I truly think they’re ready.
Life is short: marriage is a wonderful thing for two men in love and who have a great future together to live as one.