Pourin’ One Out for Mah Homies

One night I was chatting with my good friend Z about same-sex marriage. Z is gay. Our conversation got me thinking about my and Mr. Wizard’s upcoming nuptials and how we could best recognize the fact that we, as two people entering into a “privileged” heterosexual marriage, are able to take this very important and life-changing step in our relationship while some of our closest friends and family cannot do the same.

Between Mr. Wizard and me, we have a lot of friends who are gay. Many of those friends will be guests at our wedding. We simply cannot in good faith stand in front of those people we love and say our vows and parade our so-called privilege in front of them, when inside we are asking ourselves, “What ”˜privilege’? What have we done that makes us more ”˜worthy’ of marriage than them?” We knew that we had to recognize this disgusting disparity in equality in a public way at the wedding, but without causing undue drama and tension on a day that is supposed to be filled with happiness. We want to be respectful to those with different opinions, but we also want to make it known that we respectfully (well, maybe not so respectfully, but that is neither here nor there) disagree.

There have been many, many recent blog posts, articles, and forum threads about different ways that heterosexual couples are recognizing this issue within their ceremonies and/or receptions. Our very own Mrs. Star wrote about it back in the day. Offbeat Bride has a really great post listing 10 ways to show your support for marriage equality at your wedding. It shares many popular ideas like the white knots for marriage equality:

Image via Offbeat Bride / Photo by Keira Lemonis

There’s also the ever-popular Goodrich vs. Department of Health ruling (scroll about halfway down the page) and things as simple as using same-sex-friendly vendors. But all of these things were either too ignore-able or too overdone. This is an issue that means a lot to us and we wanted something that would not be able to be ignored, and that no one had heard before.

And that’s when I came across a beautifully translated excerpt from Plato’s Symposium. It tells the story of the origins of why we love and why any gender can love any gender—and as a fun etymology lesson on the side, it explains where the phrase “other half” comes from. (Isn’t philosophy cool?!) When I finished reading it for the first time, a chill went up my spine. This was our perfect reading. It’s simple, it’s blatant, and this translation is beautiful. I’m going to copy the entire thing here—it’s long, but I implore you to read the whole thing. (Translated by Benjamin Jowett)

Humans have never understood the power of Love, for if they had they would surely have built noble temples and altars and offered solemn sacrifices; but this is not done, and most certainly ought to be done, since Love is our best friend, our helper, and the healer of the ills which prevent us from being happy.

To understand the power of Love, we must understand that our original human nature was not like it is now, but different. Human beings each had two sets of arms, two sets of legs, and two faces looking in opposite directions. There were three genders then: one comprised of two men called the children of the Sun, one made of two women called the children of the Earth, and a third made of a man and a woman, called the children of the Moon. Due to the power and might of these original humans, the Gods began to fear that their reign might be threatened. They sought for a way to end the humans’ insolence without destroying them.

It was at this point that Zeus divided the humans in half. After the division, the two parts of each desiring their other half came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one. So ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, making one of two, and healing the state of humankind.

Each of us when separated, having one side only, is but the indenture of a person, and we are always looking for our other half. Those whose original nature lies with the children of the Sun are men who are drawn to other men, those from the children of the Earth are women who love other women, and those from the children of the Moon are men and women drawn to one another. And when one of us meets our other half, we are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and would not be out of the other’s sight even for a moment. We pass our whole lives together, desiring that we should be melted into one, to spend our lives as one person instead of two, and so that after our death there will be one departed soul instead of two; this is the very expression of our ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called Love.

Understanding this ancient power of Love, let us call on men and women everywhere to follow this path, so that they may find their own true loves, which rarely happens in this world at present. I believe that if our loves were perfectly accomplished, and each one returning to their primeval nature had their original true love, then human beings would be healed and our world would be happy and blessed.

We haven’t decided who we will ask to read this yet, but we want it to be someone to whom this is meaningful, and I’m sure that whoever does it will do a wonderful job.

Are you recognizing same-sex marriage inequality in your wedding? How are you doing it?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Wizard

Location:
Pittsburgh
Wedding Date:
June 2012
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comments

  1. Member
    seajo 33 posts, Newbee @ 10:36 am

    That’s beautiful! If you haven’t heard it, there’s a beautiful song from the movie and play, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, that tells this same story, it’s called “The Origin of Love”.

    My fiance and I are going to make a donation to the Human Rights Campaign as part of our favors.

  2. Member
    Mrs. Mouse 4811 posts, Honey bee @ 10:36 am

    I love this reading! We used it in our ceremony. I had my sister-in-law read it & she did such a great job! She was really nervous though because it was so long and complex.

  3. Member
    mswizard 554 posts, Busy bee @ 10:39 am

    @seajo: I haven’t actually seen Hedwig and the Angry Inch D: I will look up that song though and I may just watch the movie one of these days… ;)

    @Mrs. Mouse: Oh awesome!! I hadn’t come across anyone else using it in their ceremony so I’m glad to hear someone has!

  4. Member
    mswizard 554 posts, Busy bee @ 10:40 am

    @seajo: And that’s awesome that you’re donating to the HRC as part of your favors!

  5. Member
    Mrs. Dragon 813 posts, Busy bee @ 10:49 am

    I really like this reading, and I think it’s going to make your point known in a lovely way!

  6. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 11:02 am

    What a perfect reading, I love the message behind it!

  7. Member
    hrm 19 posts, Newbee @ 11:14 am

    Miss Wizard, I think that you are just wonderful! Truly and utterly wonderful!

  8. Member
    Miss Fish 1786 posts, Buzzing bee @ 11:19 am

    Love this! We went the “Goodridge vs. Department of Health” route, but it was a bit different from most because we actually had it read during what would normally be the “definition of marriage” section of the ceremony. Plus, our mutual BFF, who is a lesbian, officiated, which was super cool.

    And I LOVE the Symposium; I had to read this story for something for a class, and now I always use it to combat the trivial argument that homosexuality is “a fad.” If Plato wrote about it, that seems like a pretttyyyy long fad.

  9. Member
    castle 1191 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:21 am

    I just read this to my FI the other night! We too are considering it as a reading. Great Choice!!!

  10. Member
    archer 551 posts, Busy bee @ 11:32 am

    love this reading, and the ideal behind it. i;m not sure how we’ll recognize marriage disparity yet, but it’s something we feel strongly about.

  11. Member
    eternalhearts 83 posts, Worker bee @ 11:41 am

    Miss Wizard, you are my heroine!!! I am a Greek Pagan & have trying to find something from ancient texts that would be a good reading, to no avail until now. I’m a little ashamed, because I’m a Plato-girl too. Thank you!!

    We’re having our officiant read the Goodrich ruling as part of the ceremony.

  12. Member
    viewfrmhere 333 posts, Helper bee @ 11:43 am

    I totally love this passage. I first heard it on the radio and it made me cry. I already have it bookmarked along with the Hedwig song to use somehow. Great choice!

  13. Member
    viewfrmhere 333 posts, Helper bee @ 11:46 am

    ps- it’s actually much longer, though the version you have hear is much more beautiful! You can read another translation here
    http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/symposium.html

  14. Member
    coyote 1544 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:53 am

    This is such a beautiful reading. Great choice, it will be a wonderful addition to your ceremony. :)

  15. Member
    Scottish 78 posts, Worker bee @ 12:12 pm

    I completely agree! It is so important to recognize the values that you and your FI have and then to share them with those at your wedding! I am thinking I want to actively make sure all my vendors practice marriage equality and not hire those that discriminate against same-sex couples. i was thinking of putting that info in our ceremony program, but not sure if it’s enough??

  16. Member
    msfox 1635 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:26 pm

    I have tears in my eyes.. this is beautiful. Don’t be surprised if I end up using this in my ceremony. ;) It’s.. perfect. Fantastic choice!

  17. Member
    MrsKeAloha 1044 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:28 pm

    I think the reading will be a great addition to your ceremony. As with all readings and wedding ceremony rituals I believe they should be a reflection of you as a couple. And if you and yours want to make this statement – I think that is a wonderful gesture of love.

  18. Guest Icon Guest
    Elizabeth, Guest @ 1:09 pm

    Do you have a link to the excerpt you posted? I have never seen a translation of Symposium like this…Jowett’s translation (or at least the only one I know of) is here: http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/symposium.html

    Kudos for incorporating this into your wedding :)

  19. Member
    RyantheGirl 41 posts, Newbee @ 1:15 pm

    Thank you for this post… I was very moved by the reading. My mom is a lesbian, so i’m trying to figure out a way to do something similar at my wedding!

  20. Member
    CaptainKH 271 posts, Helper bee @ 2:36 pm

    Ha! My FSIL will be reading this at our ceremony, for the very same reasons. This was not the translation I was familiar with, and I had reservations about using it, for that reason alone. However, I thought it was a beautiful way to express the love my FI and i have for each other, and also honor our LGBTQ loved ones. I am excited that so many people are choosing to voice their opinions on their wedding day, to support the LGBTQ community.

  21. Member
    redherring 2006 posts, Buzzing bee @ 2:37 pm

    Are any of your friends bisexual? If so, they might feel a bit excluded by this particular reading.

  22. Guest Icon Guest
    thatgirl, Guest @ 4:30 pm

    @redherring I don’t see how it would exclude her bisexual friends. I would consider that they’re just open to their other half being of either sex.

  23. Member
    jazzy14 837 posts, Busy bee @ 5:10 pm

    That reading is so beautiful! It definitely made me tear up. Wonderful choice!

  24. Member
    Coffee cup 2319 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:59 pm

    I love this, I’m also thinking of using a part for our ceremony.

  25. Member
    mswizard 554 posts, Busy bee @ 7:27 am

    @HRM: Aww shucks :P Thank you!

    @Miss Fish: Haha, I never thought of it that way, that homosexuality must be a pretty old “fad” since Plato was talking about it. I’ll have to bring that up next time I hear someone say that!

    @eternalhearts: Awesome! Glad I could help!

    @viewfrmhere: I actually found that version first and I loved reading the whole thing (I’m a big philosophy fan :) )!

    @Scottish: I think every little bit helps, and I love the idea of putting something about your vendor choices in your program, I say go for it! :)

    @Miss Fox: Do it! It’s a great reading, more people need to use/hear it :)

    @Elizabeth: I actually have no idea where I found this one from (I just copied the text to myself in an email, without the link…d’oh!) but that’s odd that the “long” translation is listed as Benjamin Jowett as well. Perhaps mine was mis-credited? I’ll have to do some digging to find out whose translation this actually is, thanks for pointing that out!

    @redherring: Mr. Wizard is actually bisexual and he loves this reading, so…I think it’ll be okay :) Thank you for pointing that out though, I hadn’t thought of that before!

  26. Member
    Miss Jenks 45 posts, Newbee @ 11:53 pm

    This was a really great post, thank you so much for addressing it. It’s pretty close to home for me as well, since my mom is gay (and currently in a civil union with her partner). However, I happened to have ended up with a very open-minded Catholic, which necessitates a Catholic wedding…and some perhaps not so open-minded Catholic family guests. I’d like to address it during the wedding, but the situation requires subtlety!

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