I’m going to tell you a secret… Gay Weddings are just like any other wedding….
A Supreme Court decision that allows gay couples to marry in any state was made today. It has people in the U.S. running the gamut of emotions… People are thrilled, relived, happy, joyful, elated, vindicated… others are disgusted, fearful, sad, filled with rage, worried…
Every person is entitled to feel the way they do – the way they want to.
I’m going to tell you things you may not know.
Gay weddings are no different from any other wedding. I should know. I’ve photographed over 600 weddings at this point.
People are happy. There are tears. There is love. There is joy. There is happiness. There are two people standing in front of an officiant promising to spend their lives being faithful to each other, treating each other well, and making the choice to love each other every single day. There are rings exchanged. Vows are exchanged. There are pictures. There is food. There is dancing. There is family drama. There is at least one drunk person in the wedding party who you’re a little worried may not make it down the aisle. There are flowers. There is cake. There’s some crazy guest running around taking photos with an iPad all up in my way. Friends and family come. Music plays. People dance. Someone drinks too much and makes a fool of themselves. That’s every single wedding. Every one. Gay, straight, whatever… Every single one is a celebration of love.
I’ve known Lindsey her entire life. Literally. I still remember the day she was born like it was yesterday. Sitting in the waiting room, waiting, waiting, waiting… having to lie and say I was 12 (I was 10) so that I could go back in to the room and see her when she was born. I spent so much time with her when she was little that she was more like a sister than a cousin. For almost a full year when she was a toddler I was the only person she’d let brush her hair. I watched a bazillion cartoons with her. I frantically helped search for her favorite stuffed koala bear (Bee-air) every time she lost it. I read her bedtime stories and played with toys and helped officiate goldfish funerals. We made cookies. We dyed and hunted Easter Eggs. We had sleepovers at our grandmothers house. I went to football games and watched her play trumpet in the band. I taught her how to drive. I took her out to her first bar in Hilton Head to see a band – Connor Christian & Southern Gothic – on her 21st birthday. Her entire life I’ve known her.
When Lindsey told me she was marrying Megan the only thing I felt was happiness. Because SHE was (is) happy. Because she found someone who loves her and that she loves fiercely. No shock, no surprise, no sadness… Just happiness.
Four years ago Lindsey & Megan founded a group called Tennessee Marriage Equality. They’ve fought for the right to be legally married in Tennessee and all over the rest of the country. They were one of 5 couples who won the ACLU ‘My Big, Gay, (Il)legal Wedding Contest. A photo I took of them (below this paragraph) when Megan proposed to Lindsey graced the cover of over 900 print and digital publications all over the world. They put themselves out there. They were on the news more times than I can count. They rallied. They tried to apply for marriage licenses at courthouses that turned them away.
Last year they were married in a beautiful ceremony at Stratton Hall in Chattanooga, TN. It was beautiful. It was just like every other wedding. Two people. In love. Committing themselves to each other. Just. Like. Every. Other. Wedding. Only they had to go to Washington D.C. following their ceremony with friends and family in Chattanooga, in order to legally marry after their ceremony here. (Did I mention that they did that on the Supreme Court steps? Yep).
So, as you sit and feel however you feel about the decision made today – know that two consenting adults (who happen to be gay) deciding that they want to marry, wanting to be afforded the same rights as every other married couple in this country – won’t change your world any more than any other stranger you don’t know getting married will change your world. And that the wedding itself – is just like every other wedding.
To Lindsey and Megan – Congratulations on your marriage now being legal in all 50 states, on being incredible people, on being incredible together, and for the dream you’ve been fighting for the past 4 years finally coming true. I love you both!