I mentioned this earlier, but J and I are getting married. How, pray tell, you might ask, you Godless lesbian creatures? Don’t you know that shit isn’t even LEGAL here?
Let me just take a moment to say, before anyone tells me to move my ass to Iowa if I want me a legal American wedding, that until gay marriage is legally protected at the FEDERAL level, it makes absolutely no nevermind to me at all that it’s legal in Iowa, or Vermont, or Connecticut (although bless those states for making such a symbolic gesture). And this is because if I get legally married in Iowa, but am a resident of Washington, then essentially all I did was throw a bunch of money at some Iowa county government, which ends up not affording me JACK SHIT in terms of marriage benefits the likes of Britney Spears has enjoyed. Twice, now. If I were in the mood to waste money, I could surely find better ways to do it than by flying into corn country, and I say that as someone with actual living relatives in Iowa.
Now that’s out of the way, where was I? Oh, yes- getting gay married. Given that the US has yet to make it illegal for lesbians to travel internationally (I know it’s a bit extreme, but there are also laws on the books that make miscarriage prosecutable as homicide, so don’t look at me like it’s that far fetched), J and I have decided to go to the great city of Vancouver, which is fortunately a scant three hour drive north of Seattle, and even more fortunately, a city in Canada, where gay marriage has been legal since 2005.
Given that we are considering dropping a fair amount of dollars on this wedding thing (which I keep misspelling as “weeding”), dropping it in a country that recognizes our status as fully actualized human beings was a no-brainer. Vancouver has been very accommodating of our wedding plans, with a bajillion websites devoted to finding our perfect venue, caterer, dress, accessories, and officiant.
Wait, officiant? In my vague thoughts about weddings, I kinda sorta… didn’t have anyone in mind conducting the ceremony. If I really thought about it very hard, I suppose I would have My Uncle The Judge do the ceremony, since he’s married two of my cousins already.
Let us simply gloss over the question of a religious ceremony with this simple statement: OH HELL NO.
Anyhoo, back to the officiant. In Canada, such an individual is called a marriage commissioner and is appointed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Vital Statistics Agency of the province in which you wish to get married. This commissioner serves a 5 year term, and can option to renew for an additional 5 years. This means there are visions of crusty bureaucrats dancing in my head, which is, needless to say, NOT QUITE WHAT I HAD ENVISIONED. Various gay websites have assured me that “gay friendly” commissioners exist and can be obtained, but… I don’t know… The one thing I actually HAD envisioned when daydreaming about my wedding is that I would know everyone there. I mean everyone- J and I have whittled that guest list so viciously that the one thing we CAN guarantee is that there will NOT be anyone’s embarrassing Uncle Morty wandering around wondering insistently where the groom is. Absolutely everyone will be someone I’ve interacted with before, including all invited members of J’s family (which is GIGANTIC, hello multiple rounds of eight children). And even beyond interacted with: someone I’ve talked to, laughed with, danced and partied and cried and jumped for joy with. It seems almost heartbreaking to invite a stranger into such a intimate circle, even if for only a short period of time.
I know, I know, there will be tons of people there I don’t actually know- the bartender, the servers, the gallery manager who will be on site the entire time. But here’s the thing- I am PAYING those people to act as if they aren’t there. If I don’t address a singe word to the waiters during my wedding, I can assure you I will neither remember this factoid, nor give a flying fuck about it once reminded. But the officiant? That person kinda gets center stage for a while, and I have to to pay her for the privilege.
Obviously, one answer is to spend a lot of time vetting said marriage commissioner, but I’m sure I’ve mentioned it at least once or twice, but we live in Seattle? And Canada, while tantalizingly close at times, like say, THE WEEKEND, is still considerably far when the idea is to make multiple visits between now and the end of August.
In the grand scheme of things, the stranger-hood of the officiant is the smallest of potatoes, but I suspect these are the reasons we have yet to make any inroads in the locating of said officiant, although we are headed into the dreaded “6 months before” period The Knot keeps reminding me of (does The Knot have some sort of deal with therapists? Because if I were susceptible to the sort of frenzy they’re continually trying to whip me up into, I’d be headed for some couch time, PRONTO).
In the end, I suspect it will matter little who actually marries us, and more who is there to witness it. And will I really care, in the end, who asks me to repeat these words to the person I love the most?:
Do you “N”, undertake to afford to “J” the love of your person,the
comfort of your companionship, and the
patience of your understanding; and to share
equally of the necessities of life as they may be
earned or enjoyed by you; to respect the dignity
of their person, their own inalienable personal
rights, and to recognize the right of counsel and
consultation upon all matters relating to the
present or the future of the household
established by this marriage?
It’s equal parts beautiful and business, and I can’t think of better words to seal our very own legal marriage.