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:
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?