Actually they wed, but dew is the mirror opposite of wed and as long as we must live married life backwards—where Kim Kardashian can legally marry for 74 days but Fran and Beth had to approach three decades together for recognition—they dew. And with a little help from their friends, they sure did the dew!
At how many legal heterosexual weddings have you found yourself standing and waving goodbye to a tipsy rice-showered couple with those cans clanking behind the car and wondering (sometimes aloud) whether this will ever last? Kardashian’s wedding flowers were barely wilted when she bolted. And yet our friends Beth and Fran made it through Reagan, two Bushes, Clinton, and Obama and needed to find small wonders in certain states like Delaware to get a civil union.
They started off right, by sending out a hold-the-date card that lights up any room like a menorah! You can hear their laughter, joy and love coming right through the postcard picture.
So when their friend Howard Menaker was asked to say a blessing for the couple, he pondered an important message for two very special women. He kept staring at the photo for inspiration. Here are old dear friends who’ve walked a similar three decade path as he and his husband, Patrick Gossett. So here’s what he said to the nearly 100 assembled:
“This is a day of happiness. Joy. Celebration. We all think we can define happiness. Poets and writers from Charles Shultz to Stephen Sondheim to Torah scholars have tried to define it. I thought I knew what happiness was. But I think I have finally seen happiness. This is happiness!”
At that point he uncovered an enlargement of this exact photo, originally sent casually to hold the date. (What clever lesbians to send subliminal speeches already written in the announcement card, saving time, money and worry!)
Howard continued: “This is the happiness one cannot have by themselves. It’s one that one must get and give to one another—a happiness that grows from loving each other completely without reservation or qualification and with abandon. And frankly, this is not the happiness of two young people who are just getting to know each other. This is the love of two people who have experienced love and happiness with each other for some time. This is also the happiness that comes from sharing love with all of us here today—from sharing who you are and the gifts you have been given. Our prayer for you is that every day you give each other this kind of happiness. That you continue to grow and share the love that makes this kind of happiness possible.”
Silly girls. They thought it was just a photo. Not in the hands of a drama queen.
The beauty of it was how many people came over to tell Howard that they, too. didn’t toss the save-the-date card away, but instead kept it on their fridge. Life’s lesson: stick it out thirty years, take a great photo, and it can sit under a refrigerator magnet in perpetuity.
And think again if you don’t think these smiles held up. These lovely talented women had a walk in the clouds on a gorgeous day in May. They assembled family and friends, and their buddies, Chris and Eric of Flair, handled the flawless event. Go figure that resourceful lesbians will find fabulous gay men to handle their affairs.
One wonders if Maggie Gallagher, our arch nemesis at National Organization for Marriage, knows how proficient and efficient we are at this? It scares her, no doubt. But what Maggie doesn’t understand is that for homosexuals of a certain boomer age, the legendary James Bond 007 film You Only Live Twice says it all. The film was popular right about the time we entered puberty and knew we were different.
As you watch two women given the right, finally, to marry legally to protect their true lives, you thank whomever you believe in for this second life you never imagined. Get used to it Maggie.
OK, fellow homos, so it’s far from perfect. Just the week before, North Carolina proved it tarred a whole lot more than heels. It’s truly a puzzlement why the hard right is determined to make us scrap and sweat for equality in every constitution in every state.
But it turned sweeter when Delaware’s favorite son, Vice President Joe Biden announced his support of marriage equality that same Sunday on Meet the Press at just about the time Fran and Beth were tying the proverbial knot and stepping on the glass.
The VP started the domino effect that brought our evolving President Obama along within the week. “Domino Joe” gave Fran and Beth the best wedding gift two women could hope for—not a backward “dewing” gift but a bona fide wedding gift—a full fledged appeal for equal protection under the law.
Look at that photo. Who wouldn’t want to give them that gift?
Brent Mundt makes a living in DC and a life in Rehoboth.