|Christ Church Lutheran (Minneapolis), designed by Eliel Saarinen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
It was a full blown celebration of a life filled with genuine caring and passion. This couple is loved because they have loved so deeply. They have been loyal and tenacious in difficult times. They have encouraged and organized to bring out the best in the people in their lives. One is an environmental lawyer and the other a social worker. They've joined causes and campaigns. They've looked up and out, instead of allowing others to define what is possible. The twinkling lights in the trees and in the little votives on the tables, the laughter, and hugs, and even the apple cake with rum sauce (a recipe from great grandma) were all evidence of their life well lived. We were all anxious for the next day and the real celebration of their marriage.
The service at the Lutheran church where they attend was filled with meaning and intention like no other. Their individual pastors from childhood were present (!) and shared prayers with the congregation during the service. My husband and one of the nieces played music. Other friends from school sang Ode to Joy in German in honor of the role that German Language Village played in their college years. Impossibly cute and squirmy 5 and 7 year old nephews were the ring bearers and the church was awash in sunflowers from the farmer's market. Their minister's sermon during the service spoke to all of the important pieces of their life and it was clear that she knew them well. Her sermon was no generic wedding template.
The church was packed with about 300 guests and a reception followed in the courtyard. Individual food trucks catered the outdoor party. Our friends wanted to support the farmers and food trucks that also regularly served the farmer's market. Locally grown food from small farms were well represented the whole weekend. At every turn, their friends were supporting the wedding, serving as waiters, dish washers, bartenders, and janitors. At 10pm the happy couple had left the church and friends and family lingered with the church staff to prepare the space for worship the next day. We were exhausted and overjoyed. More than anything I just felt so damn lucky. I left Minneapolis thinking of all the ways I wanted to infuse my own marriage and family with some of their intentionality, commitment and passion.
As you might guess, this long description is not without a punchline. During this most idyllic weekend, there was one single cloud that hung over the otherwise picture perfect postcard. Their wedding will not be legally recognized in Minnesota. It was two grooms who stood at the altar and as a result all of their religious faith, family loyalty, civic engagement, and love for one another is currently deemed "radical", "not the same as" or for some, quite unbelievably to me, "perverse". My friend had an editorial in the Star Tribune the morning of his wedding day that spoke to the issues and served as the inspiration for my thoughts here.
For anyone who knows our friends, they know that their marriage as a same sex couple will not ruin the state of marriage for heterosexuals. The only danger that their marriage poses is to raise the bar higher for the state of matrimony.