Monday, October 20, 2008

Our legal gay wedding

GuyDads legal gay weddingWith over 400 people in attendance, Eddie and Ed (GuyDads) were married in a civil ceremony yesterday. Exactly 3 years, 3 months before we had been married in what we consider our 'real' wedding (a full religious Jewish wedding and sit-down dinner and dance). Yesterday's event still was extremely moving and exciting as we participated in what felt like an historical event. California's constitutionally legalizing same-sex marriage is so exciting and important; and as we all know, so threatened by Proposition 8, which would remove that right by adding an amendment to discriminate against lesbians and gays who want to marry. Yesterday, we were able to affirm that what we want in the right to marry is all about LOVE and EQUALITY, not about re-establishing two classes of citizens.

Our civil ceremony was part of a much larger event that we helped host and plan. "Marriage Equality is a Jewish Issue: An Evening of Learning and Celebration" was an event at our Jewish Reform synagogue, Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos, CA. We planned the event with our Rabbi and two lesbian couples who were married along with us. (Each couple had had a full Jewish wedding in the past 4 years at Beth Am.) We decided we wanted not only to get legally married but also to garner lots of support to defeat Prop 8. We solicited co-sponsors to join Beth Am and were eagerly joined by the Progressive Jewish Alliance, The Jewish Community Relations Council, LGBT Alliance of the Jewish Federation, Congregation Shaar Zahav, Jewish Mosaic, National Council of Jewish Women, Keddem Congregation, and the Jewish Federation of the Greater East Bay. We are VERY PROUD of the greater Jewish community for such support to defeat this proposition.

We also had wonderful support from the No on Prop 8 campaign who provided lots of swag (yard signs, flyers, bumper stickers, etc.) and several cute volunteers who signed people up for phone banks and hosting house parties as well as collected money for the campaign. Our full program moderated by our head rabbi, Janet Marder, consisted of five speakers. Their talking points were as follows:
Flaurie Imberman, Progressive Jewish Alliance
o Mission of PJA and kinds of programs they undertake.
o Reasons PJA has adopted “No on 8” as a focus this fall.
o Thanks to the other co-sponsoring organizations.
o Why this is an important issue for her personally.

Emily Doskow, Board Member, National Center for Lesbian Rights
o Mission of NCLR and brief overview of issues pursued through the courts through the years.
o NCLR's history with same-sex marriage.
o The arguments before the CA Supreme Court and what NCLR believes was the tipping point to win there.
o How NCLR sees this decision affecting general LGBT equal rights battles across America.
o Why this is an important issue for her personally.

Rabbi Sheldon Lewis (a Conservative rabbi)
o The Jewish view of marriage equality.
o How Jews reconcile the Leviticus verses so often quoted by those opposing same-sex marriage.
o Why this is an important issue for him personally.

CA Assemblymember Ira Ruskin, 21st District
o California's legislative history in terms of equal rights laws, marriage laws, and GLBT rights.
o How this proposition is same and different from other propositions.
o What it means to 'amend' the Constitution in CA.
o What legislation implications are there for either passing or defeating this proposition.
o Why this is an important issue for him personally.

Deb Kinney, Board Member, Equality California
o Mission of EQCA and brief overview of issues pursued in its history.
o Overview of the campaign to defeat Prop 8 and the latest, current status of the campaign.
o Description of who seems to be supporting Yes on 8 and why are they being so successful in persuading voters.
o Who are the 'un-decideds'?
o What it will take to defeat the Prop.
o What is needed from folks present.
o Why this is an important issue for her personally.
o Solicitation of donations and why so needed at this late time in the campaign.

GuyDads walk down the aisleThe wedding ceremony itself was much more moving than Eddie or I thought it would be. Our Jewish wedding was so wonderful, we did not want to try and re-create it. Originally, we and the other two couples just wanted quickly to say the vows necessary for the legal marriage. However, as the number of guests grew and as we contemplated how important it was for everyone there to feel the love and to experience a 'real' wedding in order to feel how 'right' it was to be able to occur legally, we began to increase the scope of the service. So, the ceremony was preceded by a 10-minute multi-media presentation of our original Jewish weddings. (It was a beautiful, moving tear-jerker in itself.) Each couple walked down the aisle to a gorgeous song sung by our Cantor. She sang a total of 4 songs (both in English and in Hebrew) during the ceremony.

As we once again stood under a huppah, our Rabbi conducted a civil ceremony that was in many ways just as beautiful and profound as the religious ceremonies she has conducted for us in past years. She went couple by couple administering beautiful vows and allowing each person to say something personal to his/her partner. At one point, as the Cantor again sang, our various witnesses came forward and signed the 3 wedding certificates (as required by CA law) and then surrounded the 3 couples as the Rabbi proudly declared us married in the State of California.

Blessing to all couples, gay or straight married this summer and fallThe entire ceremony was capped by her inviting all couples present who had been married since the CA Supreme Court had made its historical decision in June or who will be married by the Nov. 4 election. About 12 couples, gay and straight, joined us under the huppah. The Rabbi and Cantor jointly gave a moving blessing on all the newly married couples.

We all danced down the aisle and led the hundreds of guests to a delicious catered affair by our good friends at Too Caterers, the highly regarded Kosher subsidiary of Continental Caterers (who helped sponsor the event also). The absolute hit of the entire evening, it turned out, were the cupcakes (all displayed on towers as table decorations) from Sprinkles Cupcakes.

Sam and Julia Thoron, who are featured in the first No on Prop 8 ad, spoke to the guests and again summed up the need to defeat the lies and hate of Proposition 8At the reception the elderly couple, Sam and Julia Thoron, who are featured in the No on Prop 8 ad, spoke to the guests and again summed up the need to defeat lies and hate of Proposition 8. They had heard about our event on Friday and asked if they could attend.

All in all, things could not have gone any better. The event raised over $16,000 for the "No On Prop 8" fight. This amount will be doubled with a challenge grant. 30 volunteer shifts to work phone banks were gathered. Just to give everyone one more flavor of how the evening went, here is the catering menu:

Freshly made Felafel, served with Tahini Sauce
Israeli Salad on Pita
Cornmeal Crusted Eggplant Bites
Quinoa Tabouli in Romaine Boats
Grilled Fall Vegetables
Baked Brie Tartlets
Salmon Tartar on Potato Crisp
Israeli Green Olive Tapenade on Walnut Baguette Crisps
Seasonal Fruit Arrangement
Pasta Bar with Pesto and Fresh Marinara Sauces
Cupcakes: Double Chocolate, Red Velvet, and Carrot

What else can you do? Give as much as you can afford. You can easily donate at

- Vote No on Proposition 8 in California
- Vote No on Proposition 102 in Arizona
- Vote No on Amendment 2 in Florida


Esther said...

Awww, mazal tov again to both of you! Stories like yours - of two normal, everyday people who love each other - are so important. I mean, as nice as it was to see Ellen and Portia on the cover of People, what's important is for people to realize that this issue affects friends, coworkers, neighbors, family members.

Adam said...

Congratulations. I wish you guys the best! It sounds like it was amazing.

Jay said...

mazel tov

Gay Cruises said...

Hello Dude,

More and more countries worldwide now accept some form of legal partnership
for same sex couples. This level of recognition ranges from civil marriage to domestic partnership. CivilmMarriage is a legally recognised commitment between same sex couples. It provides partners with the rights,benefits and responsibilities similar to opposite sex marriage. Thanks a lot.....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...