April 2018

Monday, August 24, 2015


This weekend, my friends Cheli and Taylor married. The words that keep coming to mind since Saturday night are "delighted" and "miracle." When Cheli, holding Taylor's hand, got to the front of the sanctuary, the rotunda at Southern Oregon University's library, she turned to look at the assembled group, at Uncle Olaf and Karen Kaushansky, at her tenth grade math teacher and her soon-to-be sister-in-law, at her mom and two of Taylor's selected mothers, she grinned and cried at the same time. Her eyes sparkled, as I've often known them to do, with a joy in life and brimmed with tears of wonder. (That may sound cliche, but it's true. What's a blogger to do?) Taylor only looked at Cheli, with a similar wonder and joy. 

This wasn't a wedding I would have witnessed, nor would it have been sanctioned by the state, until…this year?! Is that right?! Cheli wore her mother's wedding dress, altered from its 1980s poofy sleeves, and Taylor wore trousers and white shirt with a bow tie with words from the Constitution on it. "The Constitution now applies to me," she told me after the ceremony. 

At this wedding were family of birth and family of choice, a surprising amalgam of people who had in common a commitment to witness this couple's commitment. 

Taylor's chosen moms, partners Kathy and Penny, were the officiants. Both took their roles seriously and their affection was clear throughout. Several people who'd loved one or both of them for a long time, took part in the ceremony. In one of my favorite of several lovely talks, Taylor's long-time friend janelle shared the story of two of them, long ago, looking at a clear night sky, and Taylor saying, "Isn't it a miracle that among all these planets and stars, in this giant universe and on this spinning earth, we came together in the same time and space to know one another."Taylor says things like that. 

I looked at my partner Ann, and at this group assembled, and agreed in the miracle. And yes, isn't it a miracle that bright-eyed Cheli and doe-eyed Taylor found one another and such love. And that this eclectic mix came together in celebration. 

In another favorite moment, Cheli was supposed to be repeating a vow after Penny, and she added that she was not only solemn but also "delighted" to make this vow. I was delighted, too. I think Uncle Olaf and Karen Kaushansky and the rest of the motley assembly were, too. 

After the ceremony, in the art gallery's reception, family-members of birth and of choice toasted the couple. Another of Taylor's friends told another story that revealed again her earnestness and her sweetness as well as her integrity. This friend told about moving to Ashland, getting to be friends with Taylor, and starting to cross the street outside of the crosswalk. Taylor pointed her to the crosswalk, saying, "This is a small town, and I spend my days talking with young adults about being accountable. I must be accountable to this side-walk." 

Other favorite moments included Cheli's little brother "Frankie," now the father of two boys, telling the group about what hard work marriage is--and Frea later introducing herself as the "wife of the guy who talked about  how hard marriage is." She then rapped a white woman's rap.

(Ann and I later agreed that marriage isn't necessarily hard work, but worth it… but raising children seems to be.)

This motley crew, celebrating these two women's commitment to love one another "for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health…" gives me hope that as a society we may one day overcome other prejudices. Maybe one day we will overcome racism and sexism and able-ism and the other isms--probably not every individual but maybe structurally and legally. 

You may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one. 

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