This momentous week started with same-sex couples all over New York getting to Town Halls for legal marriage licenses. Sunday, July 24, was the first day that they were eligible but select offices were open. There is a 24 hour waiting period but for some, it was waived so the first couples started the week of marriages on Sunday!
It is hard to put myself in the shoes of a person who has been denied the same rights that I have because of the way they were born. It flabbergasts me to hear some people parse the word "marriage" as if they owned the word. Like it would tarnish their own long-term marriage. I see couples who have been together in relationships that have worked well for over four decades. Then hetero couples who can't stay together for six months after elaborate weddings.
I'm privileged to have witnessed a momentous ceremony today right here on Long Island. The owner of Carltun on the Green, at Bethpage State Park, opened the doors to almost 50 couples who were married there--free of charge. Dr. Beverly Boyarsky performed a beautiful ceremony which had the whole group in tears. It was powerful, yet intimate and loving. She had them state their vows out loud, present rings and then there was a champagne toast. Children accompanied their parents up and down the aisle. Ages varied from young to old. It was too much to take in. The love was palpable. As an officiant, I was so excited to witness this group wedding. It was historic!
We then were invited into an elaborate reception with lots of food, a DJ with great dancing music and a 4 ft. tall wedding cake. All of this was a gift from the owner of The Carltun. The GLBT community gave financial support and we were given cards to fill out if we wanted to chip in, also. Flowers and the DJ were gifts, too. There were more cameras there than at a coronation! What a fabulous expression of support and love.
My three friend and I had tears in our eyes during the ceremony and clapped for joy as each couple was introduced to the waiting guests. My face still hurts from smiling and my heart is full.
As I said on June 24, the day New York State passed the long awaited law, "Let the Weddings Begin!!"