Yes & yes

OMG, you guys. First of all, it is so hot today!

Clearly, this candy is good for you.

Serious. Grab yourself a spicy corn-flavored Tamboreta lollipop and a Miller Lite (okay maybe that’s just me).

Okay. Actually, this post is not about the current heatwave, and my taste in Mexican candy, but rather about the change of name in this blog. Rachel and Lindsey got married! Yaaay!! It was great.

Our waiting room was an arts classroom with some truly amazing tableaux setup for still-life study. We lined up outside the auditorium and listened to our friend Kat play guitar and sing. Listening to the singing and standing next to my dad behind Lindsey and her dad was the only time in the ceremony I almost cried.

Ike read “i thank you god for most this amazing” as the opening prayer. This poem is about the start of life and how life comes from a very mysterious origin. We shall call the origin God. Also, how the beginning of life is not a singular, biological event.

The First Reading in the Liturgy. David read from the Song of Solomon. This reading ends “Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm; for stern as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion; its flames are a blazing fire” and speaks to love’s passionate awakening. The Song is a song for new lovers. (This reading also inspired our inscription inside our wedding bands.)

The Second Reading. Leah read a selection from the First Book of John, which begins “Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” This passage creates a narrative out of the first reading: that love is not an emotion confined to poetry and passion. Love is an action, of work and deeds. (In a broader sense, this is the heart of what Christians mean to Witness.)

Our officiant, Frank Cordaro, read from the Gospel of Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount (“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…”). If the opening poem ecstatically welcomes a new life, and the readings trace love’s evolution from passion to partnership, then the Gospel offers no conclusion, but opens the narrative beyond the partnership being celebated, and accepts all of heaven and earth into the possibility. Those who commit themselves not only to one human being, but to mercy, justice, and peace, are those who truly come to know love.

Frank’s Homily was very sweet. Frank is a radical peace activist and “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied” is a prayer very near to his heart. He spoke a bit of his own work, dedicating himself out of love and faith to a cause that routinely gets him imprisoned. But largely he spoke about us and how our positions, as women in a faith that doesn’t find women’s views very important and as gay people in a country that doesn’t find gay rights very important, offered us a privileged opportunity to realize the vision of Matthew. It was very Catholic. Very gay, feminist, liberal Catholic.

We stated out intentions, the assembled announced their support, Frank blessed our rings, we exchanged our vows, and slipped on each other’s rings. I take you to be my wife. I promise to love you wholly and completely, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, in life and beyond. I will respect you as I respect myself. I will be true to you and honor you all the days of my life.

The last bit before we left went somewhat awry. My sister handed me a glass orb in a velvet bag for Lindsey and I to break. The breaking of the glass can have several meanings. The most traditional is that it serves to balance the joy of the event with a somber moment, as it recalls the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Additionally, the step taken to break the glass is like the step of marriage: once taken, it cannot be undone. As impossible as it is to repair broken glass, it is as impossible to undo the bonds of marriage. All this is very good, except that we couldn’t actually break it.

We stomped on it (just like we practiced), but it bounced away. Fredo, in a welcome moment of helpfulness, took off a shoe and handed it to me. Alas, even without heels on, it couldn’t break it on the carpeted floor. I called it a wrap and we kissed anyway. Anyhow, I gave Fredo his shoe back and we recessed in a somewhat orderly fashion. Mazel tov!

Comrades

My friend Becky, a very dear girl and all around general badass, lived in Macau and then Shanghai the years Lindsey and I lived in China. While in Shanghai, her girlfriend was one of the head gays around town, writing the gay column for English-language mags, organizing drag shows and bar outings, keeping up on the general queer Shanghai pulse. She also became a lead organizer of Shanghai Pride 上海骄傲节 2009, mainland China’s first ever official Pride.

Part of the Pride party on Saturday was a group marriage. Two Chinese couples (two boys and two girls) and two American couples (two girls and two girls) all got up on stage and excahnged vows and plastic rings. The ceremony was mock, but the congratulations afterwards were not. People really loved it. The photos of it were terrific too. I don’t have any since I was one of those on the stage, but there were several printed online on the BBC, China Daily, etc. Lindsey just this morning sent me some more she happened to find. Look! Aww, cute.

A very nice reminder a few days before the wedding, that we’ve already had a dress rehearsal.

Eeeeeee.

Hey guys, I’m getting married this week! Excited!

P.S. In case you were wondering, two weeks is the time frame when you start freaking out a little.

P.P.S. Also, I cut my hair off. This is unrelated to the previous post script.

Civil Unions Now! Wait, what?

So awhile back on this blog I went to Springfield to lobby for Civil Unions. You’ll notice in the post that my argument for CU was largely “it changes the map”. And look! Look at the map! Now Illinois also gets to be shaded in (lightly).

Same-Sex Marriage Laws U.S.

Yep, the Illinois law takes effect June 1, which totally coincidentally and not on purpose means that our marriage gets recognized as a civil union in Illinois. We don’t have to file any extra paperwork or register or anything. Just as Illinois automatically understands that straight marriages performed elsewhere are marriages, now they’ll grant that gay marriages performed elsewhere (and civil unions performed in other civil-uniony states) are civil unions.

There’s mixed reaction to this news. On the whole, it’s a positive step. Politically, it changes the map. Practically, it offers a lot more security for couples and families. Personally, it helps me get better health insurance!

On the other hand, it is a newly invented classification to keep same-sex couples out of traditional marriage. It offers an equivalent system of legal rights and benefits under a big sign that says “You’re Still Too Different From Us”. So, if Lindsey and I weren’t getting married in Iowa, we probs wouldn’t be getting civil unioned in Illinois*. We don’t have shared property or frail health or children or much else to make the incentives of civil unions worth the annoyance of them existing. Not too mention civil unions are sooo five years ago. Marriage equality is in this spring.

*Btw, you can read about our and other couples’ feelings on this matter in the June 9 issue of TimeOut Chicago. They’re doing a story on just this topic.

As always, you can help change this! If you’re in Chicago, you should come to the Rally to Repeal DOMA on Saturday June 11. It’s in Boystown, so you can support some community engagement before going out for different community engagement. Also, slim chance I might be speaking at the rally. So it might also be an excellent chance to see me be really, really nervous.
And if you’re not in Chicago, people do this everywhere. Find them and get involved.

The Visuals

Oooh yay. So, I’ve been putting off telling you all about our photographers because they were laboring over a new website. It’s launched! Joshua Ford Photography is run by Josh and Aimee and they are two awesome cats. Like, shark-cats awesome. They also happen to be good pals with Lindsey’s brother and sister-in-law, which is how we met them. They also happen to have one of the cutest little dudes on Earth.

They also happen to have gotten married at the Figge in January, and shot other events there, so they know what’s good in that space. Lindsey and I have a lot of misgivings about photographers. Too much looking cute and coordinated… The Fords’ style (lots of portraits, lots of geometry, lots of Photoshop coloring and technique) gives us something to look at without worrying about whether everyone nailed the correct Charlie’s Angel pose assigned them. I have fond nostalgic memories of high school friends dragging too-big (still film!) Nikons to local punk and rock shows, and I feel pretty comfortable that this is going to be kind of a grown-up version of that.

Check out their Facebook page too, tons more images there. Congrats on the site Josh, it looks sweet.

Wooing

When you and your girl are both in college and super busy analyzing subaltern identity and what Mr Leopold Bloom had for lunch, there is a quick solution for your romancin’ needs: poetry.

Lindsey and I sent each other poems via email pretty frequently for the first couple years we were together. I even, in a very Perks of Being a Wallflower moment, once wrote some out and put them together into a small book with a drawing on the front. (I also once bought her a typewriter, come to think of it. Hmm, Charlie…)

We’ll have poems at the wedding. You can read them! Here’s one now, to tide you over:

Your Catfish Friend
Richard Brautigan

If I were to live my life
in catfish forms
in scaffolds of skin and whiskers
at the bottom of a pond
and you were to come by
one evening
when the moon was shining
down into my dark home
and stand there at the edge
of my affection
and think, “It’s beautiful
here by this pond. I wish
somebody loved me,”
I’d love you and be your catfish
friend and drive such lonely
thoughts from your mind
and suddenly you would be
at peace,
and ask yourself, “I wonder
if there are any catfish
in this pond? It seems like
a perfect place for them.”

Golden rings

Just married.

Best part of wedding stuff? Buying ‘spensive things.

This week we bought our wedding rings. We bought them from Bario-Neal, a workshop in Philadelphia that uses reclaimed metals and responsibly-sourced stones. Ours are flat gold bands (Lindsey’s in rose gold, Rachel in yellow) that are hammered for a little texture.
I’m really happy with the ring we picked. I’m happy with the way they’re manufactured, and whose making them, and how they look, and how we picked them out together. In the million and two tiny steps it takes to plan a wedding, this was one decision that was easy and meaningful.

Inside they’re going to be engraved דודי (dodi) which is the old Hebrew word for “beloved”. (And the modern Hebrew word for “uncle”). We’re using it as shorthand for אני לדודי ודודי לי (ani l’dodi v’dodi li), which is from the Song of Solomon, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” and is a traditional motif in Jewish weddings. [Yes, dodi is a masculine noun. No, we’re not changing it, in fidelity to the text.]

The Song of Songs is also going to be the first reading (the first reading in the Liturgy; the first reading of the whole thing is going to be an e.e. cummings poem).

Hark! My lover– here he comes springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills. My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag. Here he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattices. My lover speaks; he says to me, “Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come!”

O my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the secret recesses of the cliff, let me see you, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and you are lovely.

My lover belongs to me and I to him; he browses among the lilies.

Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm; for stern as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion; its flames are a blazing fire. Deep waters cannot quench love, nor floods sweep it away. Were one to offer all he owns to purchase love, he would be roundly mocked.