fireflies and cottonwood

our wedding blog

Marriage in the time of Prop 8? May 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 12:11 pm

(cross posted with Stephanie’s personal blog)


(Photo by Justin Sullivan, from Jezebel.)


Yesterday, as the courts in California were making and announcing their decision, I was reflecting on my own engagement and wedding plans. There are two parts of the upcoming marriage that I love and look forward to: the first is all the pomp and decoration, whimsy and glamour. I love dinner parties, fresh flowers, old pewter, dresses with bustles, big hair, yards of ribbon, candlelight, and gathering my loved ones… I love these things on a daily basis. A wedding celebration is the perfect opportunity to celebrate with all of that and more.


I also love the Book of Common Prayer, and the liturgical ceremony that surrounds the formal ceremony. The BCP means much to me, again on a daily basis, and I look forward to marking this milestone in the relationship between Matt and me, and in our families and communities, with a ceremony rich in history and language.


But. It’s such a privilege that Matt and I get to be celebrated with tradition and history, and others aren’t. In fact, others in our families, in the bridal party, in the groom’s party, in the choir that will sing at the church, in those planning the wedding with us… our lives are deeply connected with loved ones who cannot have the same rights as we have.


And. Last night, I was comparing this to earlier civil rights struggles. (I do see this as a civil rights struggle.) What if I were living and planning my wedding in a time where black couples were not allowed to legally marry. Oh, they might be able and encouraged to have a private party, to have a non-sanctioned person bless their marriage, but they wouldn’t have the same rights and privileges as I have. Would I plan the wedding I’m planning? No. If my black classmates and floormates and colleagues could not marry, I would not want to exercise that privilege– I would see it as a gross flexing of rights in the face of injustice.


And isn’t that what I’m doing while continuing to peruse tulle and cake, when I am unfairly privileged to do so by unjust laws? What if we gave all of our wedding budget to the HRC?


If you haven’t seen it yet, watch the “Fidelity” video. And add your name to the list.


And if your state has a “Defense of Marriage Act,” find your representative and send them an e-mail.


5 Responses to “Marriage in the time of Prop 8?”

  1. Andrew Says:

    L. and I still have our “Massachusetts is for Marriage” t-shirts from Northampton Pride, four years ago. We wore them on the plane to Ohio, when we went to a wedding there. Maybe we’ll pack them for Texas and Missouri. I wonder if we could get a 12 mo. sized one for little A.?

    • girldogtorch Says:

      This might be the theme of the rehearsal dinner– supportive tee shirts for all, and a petition by the fancy guest book.

  2. Nadine Says:

    I wish more opposite-sex couples would reflect on what you are reflecting on. Thank you for struggling with this.

  3. Shelly Says:

    I don’t know, Stephanie – as your former resident queer couple next door neighbors – straight people getting angsty about their weddings because the gays can’t get married feels like not really a big help. This is due to a few things. First, marriage is not really the biggest issue facing queer folks. Hate crimes, police brutality, rape, underemployment/job discrimination, lack of access to necessary documents, a shoddy health care system, racism, poverty…this list could go on and on and on, and getting married is just not high on the list of struggles for the majority of queer people. It might be for people with property, people who are in long-term monogamous relationships, people who have enough money to blow on a beautiful wedding…but certainly not for a lot of folks. And I feel like straight people not accessing what they want from a wedding (including the BCP and the gorgeous flowers – not to be outdone by Lady Di) doesn’t ever incite a riot – it’s not like your wedding party will suddenly go on a hunger strike in front of their state capitols because you and Matt didn’t get married. And, frankly, it actually kind of hurts your queer florists for you not to give them business in a shaky economy.

    I mean, sure, Aaron and I would love to have a Big Party that is acknowledged by the Episcopal Church, and use the BCP language. I’m an Episcopal minister who *loves* getting dressed up and eating, after all. And I definitely want hospital visitation rights. But it’s not nearly as important to me as figuring out how to protect undocumented queer migrant workers (or any migrant workers, for that matter) in eastern Washington. Or figuring out how to have transfolks not being murdered at an extraordinarily high rates, without anyone caring.

    HRC has a really bad history with both trans people and poor people. Please don’t continue to advertise for them. Queers for Economic Justice (, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice (, and the Audre Lorde Project ( are all amazing places to give money – places that recognize and do work around intersecting oppressions.

    • girldogtorch Says:

      This is a great, great comment. (And what else would you contribute?) And I really, really appreciating you pointing me to places to give money that will use it justly and well.

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