Nine years ago, I spent a truly perfect day. I stood before God, friends, and family and became a husband to my beautiful wife. But since then, I've repeatedly taken that perfect day for granted. I had no idea the incredible privilege it was to freely choose and marry the love of my life and to have that marriage legally recognized.
“Obergefell” may not be a name that is familiar to you, but for those who have struggled to have their relationships legally recognized, the impact of that name changed their life forever. It’s the name of the SCOTUS ruling that legalized same-sex marriage a whole year ago.
According to an article from The Atlantic:
In the one year since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide, the number of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans individuals married to a same-sex spouse has increased 22 percent.
A new Gallup poll released Wednesday estimates about 9.6 percent of LGBT adults are currently married to a same-sex spouse, up from 7.9 percent before the landmark court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges last June. Gallup estimates about 123,000 same-sex marriages have taken place since the ruling.
My good friend Dennis Gable recently officiated one of those 123,000 weddings. Dennis is a family man, pastor, and visionary who constantly preaches that the love of God isn’t limited to our comfortable boxes. He did what is not always popular by representing God’s blessing on the union of two women. Today, I’m honored to have Dennis share his experience.
“I now pronounce you a couple bound by love and commitment. You may kiss your bride.”
These are the words I used to conclude the union of two wonderful women who are very close to me. I recently had the opportunity to officiate the wedding of one of my absolute best friends & her now-wife. Many who were close to the brides were present, but the list of people who weren’t there was heartbreaking.
There were none of the easy-to-forget distant relatives, unnecessary co-workers, or indifferent acquaintances who show up out of obligation or curiosity. The brides didn't have to provide food and booze for any of those fringe folks who look for unearned opportunities to party on someone’s wedding day.
One of the brides was getting married in her hometown. Her parents still reside there. But she has to live with the truth that they chose not to be present for what is arguably the most special day of her life. This isn’t because they simply made a choice to not invite such “guests;” it’s because disengaged people don’t attend gay weddings. Not even when they are parents.
I couldn’t tell you exactly how many weddings I’ve attended, but I can tell you how many have actually meant something to me. The answer is four. Four weddings where I was in full emotional and spiritual support of the couple coming together before God and their dearest loved ones. The most recent was this wedding that I had the privilege of officiating. I opened up the moment with these words: “I’m pretty sure that by law I have to ask if anyone opposes this wedding… but the real question is, ‘who is wildly excited about this moment?’”
After the brides and I wiped tears from our eyes, we moved forward in the most emotional, supportive, and spiritual wedding I’ve ever been part of. When the only people present are core relationships, you cannot help but be moved.
I met both of these wonderful women back in 2011. We were introduced by a mutual friend and first connected by phone because we lived in different parts of Arizona. I’ll never forget speaking to Angie for the first time and thinking, “She sounds cute… I wonder if she’s single.” I already knew she loved God, art, and community...I just didn’t know she also loved a woman.
As a twenty-nine-year-old Christian guy, I had been groomed to think thoughts like this any time I met a single woman. “Is she the one? Could this be the woman God has been preparing for me?” It seems the church is happy creating codependent, marriage-hungry fiends out of the “straights.” But we don’t do a great job of accepting that someone could be in love with and spiritually tied to someone of the same gender.
Let me wipe some of the dirt off of this one, friends. There are plenty of gay people who love God, are faithful to their partners and long for marriage. In fact, there are so many that we should probably start taking notes. Heterosexuals aren’t exactly improving divorce trends.
Straight people have had the right to marry since the beginning of time. And at times like these, I wonder if the straight community has made such a stink over the SCOTUS ruling because we secretly fear that queer folks might actually do marriage better than us.
Angie’s wedding was filled with love, laughter, and two women who support each other in amazing ways. As a result, I was forced to consider the ways I’ve failed my wife. I haven’t fought for the love I am lucky enough to share with her nearly as hard as my gay peers fight for their relationships. I probably would fight harder if I had to face the same judicial, cultural & spiritual oppression they do.
And as I reflect on the beauty that I was fortunate to be part of in this wedding, I realize something else: the argument over gay rights and the horrible things people say about queer folks in the name of God didn’t matter nearly as much in that moment. Because last weekend, I was honored to witness the tangible ways that love always wins.
Dennis is co-founder of the VLNRABLE app, a public speaker & graphic designer. He is passionate about grace, inclusion, pretty colors & good drinks. Find out more about him at dennisgable.com
Join me, plus a panel of wise and gracious experts TONIGHT on Blab at 8pm EST for a conversation about "Christianity, Queers, and Crisis". Just click here to join the chat!
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