A coming together for better

Let me start off this post by thanking the makers of Kiss Me mascara.  Without this miracle invention, I would have spent much of Sunday afternoon looking like a reject from a Lifetime movie casting.  My dear friends Lauren and Michael got married Sunday afternoon on a dock in the middle of Piedmont Park in Atlanta.  And their vows, which they wrote together, were so beautiful and articulate that even a jaded wedding guest like me (theirs was like the twentieth wedding I've been to in the last two years) was reduced to a puddle.

Here's in part what they vowed to one another:
I vow to remain earnest in my desire to be socially conscious;
to allow my heart to be pressed by the ills of the world,
and to respond accordingly.
I promise to remain steadfast in the face of adversity,
to challenge and allow myself to be challenged,
to speak out and, in turn, be spoken to.
I promise to always support you in your dedication to do the same,
to push you when called for and comfort you when needed.

I promise to always hold you in my heart,
ever mindful that we will help to raise the next generation
and that we are dedicated to leave them a legacy of kindness and justice.
I get chills just retyping their vows.  

In a gesture completely befitting this couple, at the ceremony, L & M's friend and officiant read a passage from a concurring opinion in  Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, the 2003 case in which the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that the state may not deny the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage to same-sex couples:
We share a common humanity . . . . Simple principles of decency dictate that we extend to the plaintiffs, and to their new status, full acceptance, tolerance, and respect. We should do so because it is the right thing to do. The union of two people "is a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred. It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects. Yet it is an association for as noble a purpose as any involved in our prior decisions."
The reading allowed L & M to reflect on the importance of marriage as an institution, as well as to bear witness to the fact that too many couples are unjustly denied the right to enter into this relationship.

What I loved about L & M's ceremony is that it didn't pay mere lip service to social justice; rather, it came off as a natural extension/reflection of their shared values and personalities. This is a couple who both turned down lucrative big-firm law jobs to work for organizations that provide legal representation to the indigent, a couple whose commitment to social justice is not simply strong but almost compulsive. In law school, I used to call Lauren my "social conscience." Some people imagine an angel and a devil sitting on their shoulders; I imagine a Lauren and an anti-Lauren.

But lest they come off too serious, let me also say that this is a couple who organized a parade -- complete with a bumpin' southern-style marching band from the local high school -- to lead their guests from the ceremony to the reception site. It was flippin' awesome.  [Note to self: Must watch Drumline again this weekend and look into fitting into my old flag girl uniform.]

[If you squint, you can see Whitney and Jesse from Our Labor of Love Photography risking being trampled by the band for the perfect shot of the bride and groom.]

Look out for my next post, in which I'll recap other fun, DIY details of the wedding.  In the meantime, L & M, thanks for letting me share your wedding on Weddingbee.  May your lives together be as happy and fulfilling as they are purposeful and inspiring.

Are you writing your own ceremony and vows?  How are you integrating your personal commitments and values into your wedding?

Sweet T  – (October 13, 2008 at 11:29 PM)  

thanks for sharing this wedding! the vows sound lovely and you know I'm all about a parade.

psst- you were a flag girl too? we gotta have a twirl-off one of these days!

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