Wedding in Maine, Part 2

A few weeks ago I wrote about attending the wedding of two women in Maine, and about how the union of my friends was not a threat to the honorable estate of marriage. It turns out that I had more to say about the wedding, another story to tell, so I went on KQED FM’s Perspectives series to say more. You can listen to my comments here:

Or, You can read a transcript of my comments below:

“Teach Your Children Well”

A Perspective by Ben Daniel

Toward the end of August, my wife and I packed our three young children onto a red-eye flight to Boston, where we rented a car and drove to rural Maine for the wedding of an old friend and the woman with whom she fell in love while serving in the Peace Corps in Morocco.

It was the first same-sex marriage ceremony I had attended. It was an eclectic affair: the brides wore white and walked down the isle to the beat of Native American drumming. My wife sang an aria by Handel and a chant by Hildegard von Bingen. There were feathers, crystals and candles placed on makeshift alters. I delivered a properly Presbyterian homily. It was on a farm.

This was not a traditional wedding by any stretch of the imagination, but it was beautiful and full of joy. The celebratory barn dance following the ceremony lasted into the wee hours of the morning, long past our children’s bedtime.

I know that some might question the wisdom of bringing children to the wedding of two women. After all, it could be argued that children are impressionable, and might become confused about the meaning of marriage if they observe the vows of people without the gender diversity of their parents.

And there was a moment of befuddlement when our eldest child, who is four, realized there would be two brides. “But there has to be a boy” she declared as we got ready to walk across a pasture to the ceremony.

So we explained that most marriages are between men and women, but sometimes men marry men and women marry women. It’s been a few weeks now, and she doesn’t seem too confused by it.

What probably would have confused her is if we had engaged in a moral judgment. If I had told her that the loved shared by her friends, the brides, was a sin, or that the vows they made were a farce, then she would have been distraught.

As it is, she learned a bit of tolerance. She was exposed to the beautiful diversity of the human family, and hopefully, was given an assurance that should she should find herself inclined to marry someday, whomever she loves and desires, so long as that person is kindhearted and true, will be welcomed and embraced by her family.

And that’s a message about which I want her never to be confused.

[audio:2006-09-14-ben.mp3]

6 thoughts on “Wedding in Maine, Part 2

  1. Ben,

    I didn’t hear it this morning on KQED but my husband did. I just read it and it’s lovely. I hope you save a copy for your daughter to read when she’s older.

    Claudia

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  3. I was very touched by this Perspective when I heard it on the radio. As I told you at church, what most profundly stuck with me was the criteria on how parents should evaluate boyfriend/girlfriends and potential spouses: “kind-hearted and true” is what I remember.

    As a parent of a soon-to-be 18 year old daughter and a 20 year old son, these words very much resonated with me.Thank you.

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