On May 17, 2014, exactly two months ahead of the nine-year anniversary of the day I fell in love with my partner, we were finally, beautifully, joyously, and legally married at the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, surrounded by about 250 of the people we most care about and who love us with a boundless love. It was miraculous — a dream come true, and just perfect, despite a few hiccups along the way. We are so happy.
|Photo Credit: A.N.G.R. Photography|
Over the course of these nine years, I have (on several occasions) fantasized about getting married on many different dates, for various reasons. I don't really know much about numerology and the like, but for some reason I wanted to choose a wedding date that was significant. All of the dates I'd chosen came and went, and we remained unwed; we've felt ourselves to be married for quite a few years now, and settled on telling people that we were getting "wedding'd", although I can't describe the sense of legitimacy and finality we've at last been allowed to experience now that marriage equality is the law of the land, at least here in Maryland and a handful of other states.
During the summer of 2013, we'd finally agreed that it was time, and decided we would like to get married in the spring of 2014. Because Joel comes from a family of farmers, we understood that this would be a difficult time to schedule a wedding, due to the uncertainty of the weather for planting season in Western Pennsylvania. However, we decided that sometime in May might work best for our families to travel to Baltimore from the various states where they live.
May 3 ended up being too early, and because the Sunday closest to May 5, "Union Sunday", is a kind of High Holy Day in our congregation, we didn't want to take that weekend. May 10 was Mother's Day Weekend...so, no. May 17 seemed like a good date.. And May 24 — this weekend — is Memorial Day Weekend, so we didn't want it now. Next weekend, May 31, would have been much too late. So May 17 it was.
Curious to know what "significance" May 17 might have, I looked up historical events that took place on that date:
On May 17, 1536, the marriage of Henry VIII of England to Anne Boleyn was annulled. Hmm...no.
On May 17, 1875, Aristides, a thoroughbred chestnut colt, won the first Kentucky Derby. Great, but not so significant to married life, and I wouldn't realize any connection until much later...
On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided Brown v. Board of Education, allowing for racial integration and declaring that separate is inherently unequal. A-ha! Something of import for a racially mixed gay couple! May 17 seemed like a good date after all!
On May 17, 1990, when I was a hurting, depressed, and moody eleven-year-old boy generally unaware of such external goings-on, the General Assembly of the World Health Organisation (WHO) eliminated homosexuality from its list of psychiatric diseases. Being gay was no longer considered to be a mental and emotional deficiency! HALLELUJAH! May 17 seemed like a GREAT date!
And on May 17, 2004, after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Goodrich v. Department of Public Health that barring same-sex couples from marriage was unconstitutional, couples in that state began marrying. In this number were the seven couples from the court case, all of whom were wed at the Arlington Street Church (Unitarian Universalist). JACKPOT! Joel and I would be wed on the 10th Anniversary of the very first same-sex marriages in these United States of America. And since May 17, 2005, this day has been celebrated as the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO, or IDAHOT since the 2009 inclusion of Transphobia in the title). We couldn't have landed a more perfect date!
It wasn't until we began trying to block hotel rooms for out-of-state guests that we learned that May 17, 2014, would also be the date for the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of U.S. horseracing's triple crown. Oh well, we weren't going to change the date now! We'd just have to make do with sharing our day with the Preakness, and we did. And it was such a glorious day.
I often joke about having CDO, which is like obsessive-compulsive disorder except with the letters in the right order [insert LOL here]. I'm not sure why it was so important to me that we be married on a date with some oomph to it...but I'm so happy that we did! We have the rest of our lives to celebrate, together with the world, the power of love to overcome obstacles, and to win over the hearts of humankind.
I'm so in love, I don't think this glow will ever go away...
|Photo Credit: Amy Genevieve Kozak|