Monday, May 19, 2014

The Bride Wore Khaki Shorts

Bert and Ernie got married.

I'm calling them Bert and Ernie, these friends of mine, only because that's what I called them when I wrote about them before. Their names are neither Bert nor Ernie, and last time they blew away my attempt at giving them anonymity by reposting my blog to all their friends, with the caption ,"Look what Kim wrote about us!"

They'd still like to know who I'm calling Bert and who I'm calling Ernie. And I'm not telling.

Though it should be obvious.

Anyhow, Bert and Ernie got married, on Friday, at a courthouse in California. They stood in a plain white-walled room beneath a silly artifical archway trimmed with silk flowers, looking completely themselves in polo shirts and shorts. They each carried a handful of zinnias. They were united in matrimony by an obese Hispanic woman wearing an astonishing number of shades of pink, who read the short service with warmth and solemnity.

I wasn't there. One of their relatives videoed the ceremony and put it on Facebook. I watched it. It was the usual--do you, Bert, take you, Ernie--punctuated by laughter, the sort of laughter that is uncontained joy. I'd call it giggling if I thought Bert were capable of giggling. "I do" (laughter) "I do" (more laughter). It was splendid, gorgeous, as the best weddings always are, and by the end of it I realized two things. One:

Marriage equality really is a civil-rights issue, not a religious one.

I happen to know, because I know them, that Bert and Ernie are both Christians who regularly attend church. But you wouldn't know it by watching their wedding. This was a civil ceremony. Their beliefs made no difference to the outcome. Since the United States was founded on religious freedom and tolerance, not any one particular brand of Christianity, we ought to be moving on. And two:

We are. That ship has sailed.

The fight for marriage equality may not be over, but the battle has been won. We are not going to be able to turn back the clock. We are not going to be able to stop this. Nor should we want to. Bert and Ernie's happy wedding isn't the future. It's the present. The messy, glorious, uncontained present, where commitment and family are open to all. Alleluia.