Jeff Rothenbach: Eat, Drink and be Married

Jeff Rothenbach ‘Tis the season for weddings. We found our own wedding sandwiched between the weddings of our friends, with other guests mentioning the number of weddings they have recently attended. Not to mention the numerous friends who have quietly had civil ceremonies. One of the things we have heard time and time again is, “It will feel different once you are married.” That really hit home last night. Our dear friend Barry, who sang the processional at our wedding last weekend, married his partner (now husband) Joe. At some point during the evening, I realized that this one feels different.

For those of you that have never been married, I will try to set up the analogy here. Do you remember going to a high school graduation ceremony for someone older than you? (i.e. you haven’t graduated yet) Then attending another one after you have graduated? You look at it differently because you have done that. That’s how I felt at Barry and Joe’s wedding.

There are other benefits that I am realizing now. During the reception, another guest was talking to Rolf. I started to get the impression that the other man was not just making idle conversation. At some point I gently put my left hand on Rolf’s shoulder, making sure to angle the ring outward. He chatted with us for a couple more minutes, then moved on to chat with another (not wearing a ring) friend of ours.

The three weddings were quite different from each other. Tony and Antonio included their sons in the wedding party (with the best men there to make sure the boys didn’t get too squirrelly) then “jumped the broom” at the end. Barry and Joe “broke the glass” to seal the union. We each asked a member of our family (my father, his sister) to read a blessing during our ceremony. However, there was one common element. Each one included a large gathering of friends and family to support the joining of two people in the loving union of marriage.

As we approach Election Day, it is more important than ever to vote NO on proposition 8. A co-worker of mine told me about an email he received encouraging him to vote yes on 8. In it, he was told that if prop 8 is defeated, boys and girls in school would have to use the same bathroom. I would consider that a new low in the lies that the right-wingers are using in their attempt to legalize discrimination.

I would love to see the future marriage and parenting classes in school. The whole class could be subject to a random draw. One child draws the first number 5 out of the hat, and waits to see if Susie or Johnny draws the remaining number 5. Then they get the doll that represents their child. Some of the children might have a doll that they bring from home, which would symbolize a child they had from an earlier straight marriage. Others would have a doll given to them which would represent a child they adopted from a third world country or an unwanted child that was dumped in Omaha. And of course, there would be more money to spend in the schools, now that they only have to maintain one bathroom instead of two.

But I am getting off topic.

Now that I have “done this,” I am even more committed in my vote against prop 8. I realize that there are some people out there, gay and straight, who do not want to get married. Don’t let that stop you from voting to protect the rights of others who do want to get married. The worst thing we can do at this important time in history is nothing.

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