Sunday was a very special day. It was our wedding day. After being together for 20 years, we finally have the opportunity to pledge our love and support to one another and receive a similar pledge of support and security for our relationship. New York has finally taken the groundbreaking leap to match its laws with the growing tide of residents who have found it indefensible to discriminate against their friends and neighbors by excluding them from marriage. Thanks be to God!
When the news arrived that the New York legislature had passed marriage equality, we were overjoyed, but we thought that our wedding day would be a little ways off. However, as July 24 approached, we decided that we wanted to be a part of the historic first day of marriage equality. After 20 years together, we decided we didn’t need to wait any more. We submitted our names to be married on July 24 at the Brooklyn City Clerk’s Office.
We also talked to our pastor, Jacqueline Lewis. She knew how historic and important it is for us to be a part of the first weddings in New York State. She also reminded us that we always have the complete support of our congregation. She encouraged us to be married at the City Clerk’s Office, but said that the congregation would want to celebrate and bless our marriage. We now plan to hold our church ceremony during worship on Sunday, along with another couple from the congregation.
For us, and for our relationship, marriage has always been about more than a promise between two people. It is the blessing of God, the protections of the state, and the pledge of support by our loved ones, all combined into a beautiful lifelong partnership. We are truly blessed that we have the support of our congregation, the blessing of God, the commitment to one another, and now finally, the protections of the state.
Marriage does more than simply strengthen our personal relationship. Part of why we wanted to get married was to serve as a role model for others. In this day and age, young people don’t always see models of committed, stable, long-term relationships. We wanted to show young people that it is possible to have this. Marriage is one way that we have decided to model that.
Now that our wedding day is over, our hearts are filled with joy at the experience we had, anticipation for the future, and a sense that we are now a part of something momentous. We thank New York for supporting us in our love and commitment to one another. More importantly, we give thanks to God for pairing us with one another and seeing us safely this far on the journey. We pray that God continue to guide us in our life together, surround us with the support of our family and friends, and bring all of us into the joy we are feeling today.