Category: england

Wedding Remarks Beth Robinson; Gay Marriage Ban Ends in England, Wales

Wedding Remarks: Beth Robinson

I received an e-mail last night from Jeff Kaufman in LA who is producing the upcoming marriage documentary about Vermont, The State of Marriage. While going through transcripts he came across the remarks Vermont Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson made at our wedding in Vermont last January. I’ve already posted about what an honor it was to have Judge Robinson perform the ceremony, but I didn’t have her exact remarks until now. It’s interesting how I actually do recall them, in detail, at the time she made them.

 Ryan and Tony, we celebrate your enduring love. What brings you here today is a deeply personal commitment, but it’s also more than that.  This isn’t only a commitment ceremony, it’s a legal marriage.  I appreciate your thanks to me personally for my role in this, but understand that you and I join together in thanking so many hundreds of thousands of people who have worked so hard including, I’m quite sure, yourselves in bringing us to the place we are today.  Thanks to their perseverance, the hopes you had in the past are reality today.  I’m reminded of the saying, “The personal is political.”  The love you two share is profoundly personal.  The law is willingness to recognize and protect that love is profoundly political.  You’ve acknowledged the work people have done to get us here, but I want to acknowledge the impact that the two of you have had just by being you, by being a committed, loving couple for so many years, seeing each other through the most unimaginable difficult times, modeling the love and steadfastness that everyone has to understand.  It is a model for us all.

The example you have set has made this moment as inevitable as all of the protests in the street and the lobbying in the legislature.  So I thank you for that.  I’m honored to celebrate you Tony and Ryan, to celebrate your individuality, who you are as a couple and who you will continue to be as husbands.  All of us know that you are deeply in love, but beyond the warmth and the glow, the excitement and the romance, what is love really?  Real love is caring as much about the welfare and happiness of your partner, as about your own.  Real love is not possessive or jealous, it is liberating.  It sets you free to become your best self. Real love is not total absorption in each other.  It’s looking outward in the same direction together.  Love makes burdens lighter because you divide them.  It makes joys more intense because you share them.  It makes you stronger so that you can reach out and become involved with life in ways you dared not risk alone.

Gay Marriage Ban Ends in England, Wales

The gay marriage ban in England and Wales ended today at midnight. There were civil unions there, but many decided to have midnight weddings and celebrate the many wonderful things associated with the fact that they are now able to legally marry. 

The change is largely being taken in stride, with little rancor from opponents and a sense from supporters that same-sex marriage was long overdue. Britain had already allowed gay couples to adopt children, and gay service members are permitted to serve openly in the military.

Unlike in the United States and other countries that have been roiled by debates over gay rights, marriage equality has overwhelming support here, and was passed by a comfortable majority in Parliament in July.

You can read more here.

When I post things like this I often think of this blog as a personal journal and that one day I’ll look back and read all these things again. As of this date, in the US Tony and I are legally married in only the US states where LGBTI marriage is recognized. However, we happen to live in Pennsylvania, where we pay taxes and own property, where LGBTI marriage is NOT yet legal. One mile away in New Jersey, we are legally married.

Photo above are the actual flowers from our wedding in Vermont, dried and arranged differently two months later.

France to Legalize Gay Marriage; Church of England "Shocked"

International news for January 2013.

The following information about France, gay marriage, and the Church of England came from reports I read at Baltimore Gay Life.

In France, this has been happening:

A proposed bill from France’s socialist government due to pass in mid-2013 would legalize gay marriage and adoption, but not assisted procreation. Deutsche Welle reports that supporters of the bill waved rainbow flags and held up signs saying “liberty, equality, dignity” and “hate is not a family value.”

I get more than a few e-mails from French readers over the course of any given month and I’ve always been curious about what’s happening over there with regard to same sex marriage. While this article isn’t as detailed, you can read more here if you are so inclined. Of course there was also a protest against this at the Eiffel Tower, too. It’s an interesting article, and of course religion comes into play once again.

The opposition to President Francois Hollande’s plan has underscored divisions among the secular-but-Catholic French, especially more traditional rural areas versus urban enclaves. But while polls show the majority of French still support legalizing gay marriage, that backing gets more lukewarm when children come into play.

I found this statement interesting.

“This law is going to lead to a change of civilization that we don’t want,” said Philippe Javaloyes, a literature teacher who bused in with 300 people from Franche Comte in the far east. “We have nothing against different ways of living, but we think that a child must grow up with a mother and a father.”

I honestly don’t know what it’s like in France. But I can tell you that here in the US civilization has already changed, like it or not, and it has nothing to do with gay people adopting kids or gay marriage. Most of the straight friends I have are married and divorced more than once by the time they are in their forties, most have shared custody, and their kids have more mothers and fathers and grandparents than I can even count. They make it work and everyone seems content. So the concept of mom and dad raising two kids isn’t as realistic anymore as it used to be, at least not here. And as far as I can tell gay people had nothing to do with that. I also find it interesting that a literature teacher made this comment.

Now this is what’s been happening in England:

Religious protections in the United Kingdom’s marriage equality bill have been met with harsh criticism from LGBT rights organizations and Church leaders alike.

A “quadruple lock” crafted by Culture Secretary Maria Miller creates “watertight” protections for religious organizations that don’t want to conduct same-sex marriages, but will allow them to “opt in” if they chose to do so. However, Miller has also banned the Church of England and Church in Wales from performing same-sex marriages.

Dr. Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales told the Scotsman that the ban was “total shock,” stating that the church should be allowed to “opt-in” or “opt-out” of the law, much like other religious institutions.

I don’t think I mind the opt-in/opt-out clause, or whatever it’s called, but I’m not thrilled about the entire ban with respect to the Church of England and Wales. Although I have no say, and I’m not connected to any of this in a literal sense because I’m not a citizen there, I get even more e-mails from readers in the UK and I know they are voracious about reading LGBT books. One of my favorite blog followers and someone who comments sporadically here is from England and we’ve e-mailed back and forth a few times on a friendly basis. My favorite copy editor at LYD lives in the UK, too. But most of all I know a lot of LGBT people there who can’t be happy about this.

In any event, at least we’re all in the same boat, so to speak. Please check out the link to Baltimore Gay Life above to read more international news. I’m going to be linking to this web site on my side bar from now on.

Photo courtesy of local friend/photographer, Ryan Morro.