|Photo Courtesy of @indycouncildems|
I was one of those folks, and I was privileged to be a part of the wedding party. As one of the so-called besties, I was in charge of one of Zach and Christian's dogs, a boxer named Zed. Up until the ceremony, Zed had been more calm than the grooms. That all changed when he wandered into a room full of 300 people or so. Thankfully, Karen Celestino-Horseman, the other bestie, had the idea to bring the dogs together to calm the younger dog down. So, I joined her on the other side of the stage, and Zed calmed down once he was with his brother, Ziggy.
Needless to say, I didn't get much of a chance to look around once the service began. I knew the sanctuary was full, but I was focused on Zach and Christian as well as my job as doggie attendant.
Afterwards, as people filed out and then at the reception later, I was struck by fact that there was nearly a bi-partisan quorum of City-County Councillors there including the President of the Council, Maggie Lewis. On the front row, Mayor Greg Ballard and his wife, Winnie, sat maybe 10 feet from the stage. There were also other elected officials of all kinds there. Statewide, countywide, and township officials were also gathered witnesses.
Beyond these individuals and politicians there were many others, and it was a very diverse group of people. Hundreds of people of different sexual orientations, gender identities, ethnic and racial backgrounds, and of all ages from baby to senior were there.
I'm sure a good chunk of the assembled mass had never seen a same-sex wedding ceremony before. It was a very diverse, beautiful, and unique ceremony that included readings from variety of religious leaders and a chant from a Buddhist monk.
As they left, so many people commented to me that the ceremony was one of the most beautiful that they had ever been to or witnessed. Hundreds of people gathered on a Saturday afternoon to watch a ceremony where a man and a man made a commitment of marriage before God.
Think about that. In Indianapolis. The city that can't decide if it wants sweet tea or unsweet tea. The city that was thought of for years as a conservative stronghold.
Twenty years ago, would you have dreamed that? I mean, would that have seemed possible? The REPUBLICAN MAYOR of the City of Indianapolis sat in the front row of a ceremony celebrating a same sex union?
Believe it. It's 2013, and times have changed. Yesterday's ceremony was a powerful signal because it's no longer about oppression or repression here. It's about love, and we were all there because we love Zach and Christian.
Now why can't others get that? Why is this still an issue? Why did Zach and Christian have to fly to Washington, D.C. to get married? Why couldn't they have done everything right here in Indianapolis? Why?
"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?" --Robert F. Kennedy
Yesterday's ceremony was a big step towards asking, "Why not?"
When you reframe the discussion so it's about love and family. It's hard to ask why anymore. Why do we keep same sex couples apart because of some fear that the institution of marriage or the family will suffer? At the heart of the family is love, and it's the same love I saw yesterday.
So, I came home. I took off my suit and put on my PJ's. I turned all the lights off, and I sat down on my couch. I started going through Facebook and Twitter and Instagram messages about the wedding. The pictures...the messages...the Facebook likes...the Twitter favorites...there was no hate. Not a hint. No one cared that Zach and Christian are gay. They just cared that they are Zach and Christian, and that's the way it should be.
So I finish this on a personal note.
At the reception, I watched two of the best friends I'll ever have dance to Same Love by Macklemore, and it made me really understand the lyrics in a new way. As they danced, I realized that the love Zach and Christian share is sacred and amazing. It's personal, and it deserved to be celebrated. And when the crowd cheered for this verse, it was their love that gave me hope.
"We press play, don't press pauseCouldn't have said it better myself.
Progress, march on
With the veil over our eyes
We turn our back on the cause
Till the day that my uncles can be united by law
When kids are walking 'round the hallway plagued by pain in their heart
A world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are
And a certificate on paper isn't gonna solve it all
But it's a damn good place to start
No law is gonna change us
We have to change us
Whatever God you believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear
Underneath it's all the same love
About time that we raised up" --Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Thank you for the wonderful honor of sharing your day, Zach and Christian. Thank you. Much love.