The September, 2008 YouTube video by "Kevstheatre" plays on my computer. Josh Grobin's sticky sweet, yet surprisingly addictive, tenor sings, "you raise me up, so I can stand on mountains," and a large poster board with hand written words fills the frame.
"DID WE VOTE ON YOUR MARRIAGE?"
On March 20th, 1924, the Virginia legislature passed into law SB 219, otherwise known as "The Racial Integrity Act." The law "felonized marriage between white persons and non-white persons." And in Nuremburg, Germany, on September 15th, 1935, at the annual Nazi Party Rally, a measure "for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour" was announced. This measure, quickly passed into law, prohibited all "marriages and extramarital intercourse between 'Jews' and 'Germans.'"
So to answer the question posed by my YouTube video choice of the day, "yeah, I guess we did vote on your marriage." Of course, that depends on who "we" are, and on "whose marriage" we were voting.
I click on my email:
Subject line: "WE GOT MARRIED!"
"Two grooms broke the glass together, Mazel Tav Terry & Larry!"
I check my voice mail:
"Hello Darlin'! It's Dean! We got married!"
I respond to a text:
"Nope sorry not available this Sunday - we're going to a wedding!"
Julie texts back, "Another wedding - whose is it this time? Hutch & Michael's??"
Fingers clicking on my blackberry: "Nope, they got married on the 20th! This time it's Chris & Mortie!"
My partner, girlfriend, wife (oh, could you please just enter a euphemism for "the person with whom I've decided to spend the rest of my life" here) and I were married on the 20th of September 2008. We have been legally married, according to the State of California, for 39 days.
Tris and I planned our marriage in three months: Caterers, a DJ, dance floor, limos, flowers by Sharon, Someone to Watch Over Me sung by Michael, wedding arch built by Eric & Pat, ceremony performed by Dean.
I remember standing simply euphoric before the extraordinary hodgepodge of a village that supports me in my life: best friends, college friends, theatre folk, a long lost niece, a work friend, a new neighbor and my brand new family (a father-in-law, three - count 'em, three - new sisters-in-law, three-new-brothers-in-law, two new nieces, a new nephew and, for the first time in my life, a mother-in-law! I was so proud to stand before these cherished and glorious souls, look into my beloved's blue eyes sparkling with endless possibility, and promise to have and to hold, to love and to cherish; to marry, to legally marry, the person I love best in all the world.
My two Moms walked me down the aisle. No, they're not a couple, but both my Dads are dead (they weren't a couple either - in fact, all four of my parents are straight, divorced and widowed, but don't hold that against them). Our 5 year old ring bearers, one multiracial, one white, were both adopted in the state of California, each by two different sets of interracially married parents, one gay, one straight. Our rose bearer was the two and a-half-year-old white biologically born son of two Jewish straight friends. And, bringing up the rear, 2 two and a-half-year-old adopted black flower fairies, once again both with interracial parents, once again one set straight, one set gay. The toasts were done by straight, gay, single, married, young, old, white, black, Mexican, Christian and Jewish family and friends.
Welcome to the United Nations of Van Nuys.
I suppose our wedding was much like any other - there were plenty of tears, plenty of laughs and endless amounts of happiness and love. My best friends from college brought Tris, my Moms and I a shot of something blue before we started. My baby brother's toast (he's not really my brother, I just call him that) made everybody weep all over the place. My new sisters flung me around the dance floor to The Pointer Sisters We are Family, while my new sister-in-law Laura screamed at the top of her lungs, "the fifth sister!" My three bestest straight girlfriends in all the world enveloped me in a huddle of arms and tears, proudly proclaiming, "now we're all married!" And there's a "formal" photograph of me with Tris and her fabulous family, as I'm daintily screaming, "I'm a Beezley!" at the top of my lungs!
At our wedding, there were loads of joy, loads of love, and loads and loads of left-over birdseed for guests to throw that we completely forgot to pass out. Oh well.
I guess the only thing that made our marriage different from the typical "straight" marriage was, when our Deputy for a Day Officiant Dean proudly announced, "by the power vested in me by the state of California," a raucous cheer of love and support floated up and away into the California sunset. Otherwise, my marriage is the same as any other.
So, to answer the question, "DID WE VOTE ON YOUR MARRIAGE?"
In my case, the answer is yes. Yes. On November 4th, 2008 everyone in the State of California gets to vote on my marriage.
I guess in that respect, my marriage is very different from other marriages.