Archive for September, 2012

Love is the Most Powerful Thing There is.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 23, 2012 by scottsteaux63

Yesterday John and I went to the wedding of our friends Katie, a fellow organist, and Carol, a doctor at Bassett Hospital. They’ve been together for nearly thirty years and had a ceremony back at the beginning in their backyard; yesterday they did it at the Presbyterian Church in Cooperstown, and made it legal at last, if only here in New York State. That church had so much love in it during the hour or so the wedding took that it seemed as if it would pour out the doors and windows and surround the whole village. Afterward there was a reception given at a local nursery and garden center, of all places, with local beers and wines and all the food locally grown and much of it vegetarian or vegan, though there were a couple of meat dishes as well. And along with the food there was music and much, much joy.

It occurred to me during the ceremony that the Fundamentalists would probably be appalled, but I couldn’t for the life of me see how or why. It was a lovely ceremony and a testament to the love these two women have shared for nearly thirty years and will continue to share for many more.

I have been a Christian practically from the cradle; what we witnessed yesterday (and did ourselves last July) was something that as kids we thought was permanently closed to us and would remain so.  The possibility of actually getting legally married to another man, even if it only applies in my home state, was a concept that most of us LGBTs who were kids and teens in the Sixties and even the Seventies couldn’t even conceive of.  It is instructive to take a look at the words used to describe our relationships in our youth:

Lover:  This one was common parlance when I was a small child in the Sixties and remained the term most used during the Seventies, which were my teen years.  I never liked it much; it has the word “love” as its root, to be sure, but it also implies illicitness and impermanence.  Is it any wonder that we LGBTs developed a reputation for relationships that did not last?

Longtime Companion:  Despite the 1989 film of the same name, or perhaps because of it, this one was used primarily in newspaper obituaries to describe the surviving partner of a person who died of AIDS.  Which is a pity in a way, because in a lot of ways it is better than the next one.

Partner:  This one is probably the one most used these days; at least it has become common enough that it has lost some of the ambiguity it had in the beginning.  And it continues to be widely used, though I have never liked this one much either; it makes my marriage sound like a business arrangement.

The word “spouse” shows up from time to time, but has not really caught on, as it has a certain sterile quality that doubtless arises from its status as a legal term.

At the end of the day, only two words really describe the relationships I am discussing:  “husband”  and “wife.”  Now I know the idea that a man can have a husband, or a woman a wife, has been a bitter pill for some to swallow.  But that is what John is to me.  He is my husband, and I am his.  No other word states so clearly what we mean to each other.  The same goes for “wife.”  And in our circle, which includes straight people and LGBTs in almost equal numbers, the use of the proper terms has become the accepted parlance.  No quotation marks.  And it’s spreading; doctors, customer service people in stores and over the phone, more and more we can use the words freely and not have the person we are addressing flinch.

This December 21 will be John’s and my tenth wedding anniversary; the legal marriage is only a little over a year old, it’s true, but as far as we are concerned, that sunny December afternoon at the Unitarian Church in Summit NJ was the day we got married.  Not that the piece of paper is insignificant; far from it.  But the fact that we made it so long without that piece of paper (as did Katie and Carol, for nearly thirty years) states more clearly than anything else the real bottom line:  at the end of the day, love is the most powerful thing there is, and love is what matters most.