Tag Archives: marriage

a renewed faith in marriage

11 Mar
Toni and Christopher at our wedding...little did we know they really meant it!

Toni and Christopher at our wedding…little did we know they really meant it!

(Note: I asked Christopher to write something about his recent engagement after a lovely conversation we had. The true partnership between Christopher and Toni really is a beautiful thing, and the way they support and fuel each other creatively is especially heartening for other artists to witness. Toni has this to add: “I’m sitting here with a smile on my face and congratulating myself for asking you out in the first place!”)

I was very proud to have been asked to read a poem at the recent wedding of Kelly Keigwin and Sam MacKenzie. I am thrilled that these two amazing artists, who are so obviously devoted to one another, are now able to be legally married. I admire them for being proactive rather than waiting for the state to grant them what should legally be theirs: both women were very involved in the campaign to pass R-74.

I’m not a huge fan of marriage. As a happily divorced father, I know from experience that sometimes marriage can nearly destroy a person. In some cases, divorce is the best possible thing that can happen to all concerned, especially if there are children involved. The institution of marriage, which some have felt compelled to protect from those whom their religion instructs them to view as unnatural, is in shambles. However, recently I have come to change my mind about marriage.

Lesbian couples I know, such as my friends Sam and Kelly, and my cousin Jeannie and her wife, Steph, have been showing us straight couples what lifelong commitment is really all about. My fiancée, Toni, and I have been a couple for five and a half years. During that time, we have referred to each other as “partners.” We did this for two reasons: 1. We have endeavored to practice true partnership, which means that neither person dominates the other, emotionally, physically, or financially. 2. We wanted to show our solidarity with our queer brothers and sisters here in Vancouver and around the world.

Toni taught me that the form of love that I always dreamed of is indeed possible. Together we have built a strong partnership in which we remain in the moment, and discuss any issues that arise right away, before resentment can begin to build. Both of us have suffered in marriages in which our feelings were ignored or disregarded, and this is what allowed us to appreciate finally finding another person who values and appreciates us. In fact, I think that regularly expressing gratitude is one of the greatest secrets to a lasting relationship.

One of the greatest gifts that Toni has given me is to accept me as I am, with all my flaws. In fact, when one of us is down, or struggling, the other sees it as an opportunity to demonstrate support. I am very fortunate to have someone in my life who praises me when I accomplish one of my goals, and is willing to let me know when I have fallen short of being the kind of man I can be. Toni does both of these in the most loving and nurturing way that I can imagine. We share a trust that our partner has our best interests at heart. I end my very busy days knowing that she has my back, and that whatever happens, I can count on her to stand by me.

I wish Sam and Kelly, and all other newly married couples, many years of happiness and discovery. I thank my gay brothers and sisters everywhere for showing us how it’s done, and for making marriage cool again.

weddings in olympia

26 Dec

After reading about the upcoming December 15 weddings in Olympia in the capitol rotunda, we decided we had to make a day trip up to Olympia to be part of history and congratulate the happy couples.

The weather outside was very cold and crummy, we arrived a bit late, and we didn’t know what to expect – but inside the capitol it was warm, welcoming, and busy with happy people.

the capitol rotunda

the capitol rotunda

card-front

program for the day

program for the day

Every so often we’d hear cheers from one of the balconies, signaling another couple finally getting their wish to legally marry. We hopped from floor to floor taking photos and passing out hearts, but there was no way to catch everything that was happening. And, in a way, it’s pretty cool to get to say that there was so much going on that there was no way to see all of it.

(Note: the lighting in the building is, shall we say, rather subdued, so we also had a hard time getting really good photos of what was going on. We regret we don’t have more to share, but we did find one nice album online and a few photos with an article in The Olympian, and would love to share any others we come across.)

near the end of a Native American ceremony - these ladies also provided the amazing cakes at the reception!

near the end of a Native American ceremony – these ladies also provided the amazing cakes at the reception!

another view of the rotunda

another view of the rotunda

the 0:00 wedding of ten couples

the 1:30 wedding of ten couples

onlookers as another couple gets married

onlookers as another couple gets married

a beautiful couple and their family and friends

a beautiful couple and their family and friends

a generous and delicious assortment of cakes at the reception

a generous and delicious assortment of cakes at the reception

It was a lovely afternoon where the spirit of love and community, even amongst those who had never met before, was clearly felt and expressed. One newlywed couple even invited us to their wedding dinner!

On our way out, we did a little replacement (he)art bombing since our hearts from October had disappeared one way or another. This time we were able to hang them in an act of celebration.

5634

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hearts: from mel & tim

22 Dec

mexico

 

Our friends Mel and Tim recently went on a trip to Mexico for their anniversary. They were kind enough to take time from their busy beach-dwelling schedule to hang two hearts down there for us. They look lovely in such a picturesque location, yes?

palm tree in Los Cabos

palm tree in Los Cabos

christopher’s poem

11 Dec

This poem was read by our friend Christopher Luna just before we cut our lovely wedding cake. We appreciate the ways that our creative friends helped to make our wedding beautiful, personal, and unique.

Christopher_weddingpoem

jenney’s poem

11 Dec

I did not come to you perfect.

Perhaps I was born perfect

as all children are thought to be,

but I was not destined to stay

complete in my innocence,

secure in my fragile,

sublime, and

undisturbed  youth.

Like you, I was picked

Up from the riverbed,

Smooth and pure

And gleaming,

and

Chosen for something

Other than a lifetime

Of soft experiences

And mild exchanges.

I was perfect but I

Was reimagined as

A plaything and

Hurled without

Warning into a

Brutal and extensive

Reckoning with the

world’s  dark teachers:

Bigotry and Ignorance,

Intolerance and Hate.

I wanted to stay perfect.

Pink and mewling,

Tender and untested,

The milk of love

fed to me

In a sweet

And unremitting

Stream.

Instead, I was cracked

Against the rocks and

Shell-scattered,

Bloody and pulsing,

Twisting in the ache

Of my soul’s deep and

Unrequited needs.

I wanted to be perfect,

But I couldn’t be perfect.

Damaged and betrayed,

Bitter and haunted,

I had to struggle onward

And gather my wreckage

And recreate a place within

Myself where I could construct

A stable and gentle pathway to

A greater identity and peace.

I did not come to you perfect.

And you did not want me perfect.

You wanted me bold in all my

Mess and glory, unapologetic

And unashamed, secure in my own

Worthiness , brave and unafraid.

You wanted the warm and rhythmic

beat of me,  the rich and fragrant

earth of me, the full and unchecked

power of all my intensity and heat.

You did not want me perfect,

You wanted me attentive and listening,

Able to hear your words and carry

Them, unresisting to their weight.

You wanted me decent and forgiving,

Fully present and awake,

released from self-defeating memories

of vindictiveness and blame.

You did not want me perfect,

You wanted me consistent in my

Kindness and unreserved in my regard,

Able to see your beauty clearly

And be at ease with your mistakes.

You wanted me to cherish the inner

Child of you but respect the inner

Warrior, to rejoice in my day to day

Life with you but forgive my moments

of restlessness and fear. You did not want

me perfect, you wanted me whole and flawed and

healing, able to look back and recognize my

story as the fuel  for my integrity and

strength.  You wanted me relaxed and amused

and laughing, able to look at this sometimes strange

and unjust  world as a playground of

delight.  You wanted me

treasured and connected,

guiltless and accepted,

sheltered in the care of you,

confident in the truth of you,

empowered by my trust of you,

dancing to the music of my

fierce and boundless pride of you.

You did not want me perfect.

You wanted me safe and loved and protected.

You wanted me as I wanted you…

As you are.

 

– Jenney Pauer

vows

10 Dec

wedding

[We wanted to share what was read at our wedding. So many people in attendance commented on how much they enjoyed it, and we think others will enjoy reading these words as well. As you may notice, our friend who officiated drew much inspiration from what we have done so far with Love is a Radical Act.]

Friends, family and community, if you would take your seats, make sure your cell phones are turned off and take a minute to really sink into this moment.

Be here and nowhere else–this is the only moment that matters, this present, this, right now.

Please allow yourself to feel deeply the love that is here today with us. If you want to laugh, please laugh out loud, if you feel the need to cry let the tears come, and if you want to applaud please do so with spirit.

Feel free to do what ever you need today to break the old rules of weddings. For we are breaking tradition here today. And we are, together, creating the wedding of Kelly and Sam.

*Processional*

“Love is a radical act. Taking the time to actually love someone, to truly value who they are rather than force them to be someone else, is a radical act. To value acts of love more than things is a radical act. It goes against what we are taught by society.”

Love is a radical act…true and real love shakes us to our very roots and changes our lives and our world in miraculous and incredible ways.

Today we come together to celebrate such a true, real and radical love, as we share in the wedding celebration of Kelly and Sam. A wedding that, in the old, traditional world of just last month could not have happened because it was unlawful.

But now, thanks to Kelly and Sam and thousands of other people– gay, straight, black, white, married, single–who fought for marriage equality in the courts, in the streets, and at the ballot box, gay people can now embrace all the protections, promises and problems that we straight people have always taken for granted. I’m excited to live in a time when marriage equality has become the law in our fine state. And as Washington goes…soon so goes the world!

Kelly and Sam are you ready to get married? (YES!)

Please join hands as Jenney reads her poem that your love inspired.

*Jenney reads*

Please join both hands and face each other:

Kelly, do you promise Sam to be her wife and partner in all senses of the word? To be loving, kind, dependable, supportive, fun, understanding and unconditionally accepting of who she really is?

(Kelly: I do)

Sam, do you promise Kelly to be her wife and partner in all senses of the word? To be loving, kind, dependable, supportive, fun, understanding and unconditionally accepting of who she really is?

(Sam: I do)

By your words it is made real. Through your pledge of marriage today, you make these promises, willing that they are just and true and lifelong.

Here are the rings that are an outward symbol of your inner commitment to each other. We choose rings because they symbolize a complete circle, never ending, just as your love will never end. Your rings were specially created of the platinum given to you by Jan, Sam’s mother. The red line that encircles them is a reminder of the love that entwines your hearts.

Kelly put this ring on Sam’s finger and repeat after me.
“I Kelly, take you, Sam, to be my wife.”

Sam put this ring on Kelly’s finger and repeat after me.
“I Sam take you Kelly to be my wife.”

Now that you have complicated your union with government, we have some paperwork. Let’s sign that marriage license.

*Signing of the marriage license*

Creating a loving marriage is a choice we make in every moment, of each and every day, to open our hearts more fully to love.

To connect to our partner with body, mind, heart and soul.

To realize that our differences make us stronger and more flexible to weather life’s storms and celebrate life’s gifts.

To choose to dig down deep to find the tiny sprouts and sparks of creation, to conceive together the supports we need to grow.

Marriage is facing the critic across the breakfast table, and reminding yourself that the challenges between you are creating a deeper commitment.

Creating a marriage is a fine piece of art which can only be made real if you both get your hands dirty.

Marriage is a shared bond with a greater community of souls.

It is continuing to open our hearts, which expands everyone’s capacity to grow.

Marriage is the completion of the circle of love, that leads you forward, again and again, to recreate your selves and the universe, every day, in every moment.

Marriage is a radical act that moves us and shakes us until our egos lie shattered in pieces and our hearts are free to soar together.

Your marriage is your greatest work of art and it requires the courage of a warrior, the curiosity of a child, the compassion of a saint, and the gratitude of a beggar.

By your exchange of promises today, the giving and receiving of rings, and them governmental papers, you have become wives for life.

With the power given me by the creative spirit, I do proclaim you lawfully married.

You may now kiss your wife.

Friends, family and community I present to you the happy couple–Kelly and Sam.

we’re getting married!

2 Dec

kelly&sam

I know we’ve been pretty quiet lately, but we’ve been extra busy with many things, the biggest one being our wedding! We had already decided to get married on the first day it was legal if marriage equality passed in Washington, so once we found out it was a done deal, we only had about a month to plan.

We did a couple of small (he)art bombings in November, one at a private residence and one at a book reading. The project has been on the back burner a little, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t thinking about it every day.

We read about a mass wedding on December 15 in the state capitol building, and we are seriously considering driving up to Olympia to pass out hearts to all of the newlyweds and to give the city a fresh (he)art bombing. We’ll let everyone know if and when we decide that we are definitely going.

The biggest plans we have in the works is a trip down to San Francisco to (he)art bomb the bay area. We are so committed to this trip happening that the only wedding present we are asking for is contributions to our travel fund. We really hope we can meet our goal in a couple of months. If you can donate any amount, large or small, or help us spread the word, we would be very grateful.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us.

(he)art bombing: olympia

29 Oct

Last weekend we drove up to the Puget Sound area to (he)art bomb Olympia and Seattle. We hung almost 400 hearts in total. It’s amazing how much work it can be and how long it can take to hang that many hearts – and the realization of what a tiny fraction of each city we covered after hanging them was rather humbling.

Saturday we (he)art bombed downtown Olympia. It’s been our goal from the beginning to do at least one (he)art bomb in Olympia since it is the state capitol and the starting place for all of the ups and downs of our fight for marriage equality in Washington this year. We appreciate what the legislature did for us, and we have agonized over the past few months about how the upcoming vote will turn out. Depending on how close the vote is, in a week and a half Kelly and I may know if we can get married or not. It is exciting and nerve-wracking and many other things all at once.

We started at Heritage Park, just a stone’s throw from the capitol building. It’s a lovely park with a nice walking path around a small lake. The weather did not cooperate most of the time – wind, rain, hail, and biting cold temperatures – but we did our installation anyway. We hung about 100 hearts at the park altogether.

Then we went to the capitol campus and hung a few hearts. Coincidentally, there was a wedding party having their photos taken on the steps of the Legislative Building. Kelly made sure to give a heart to the bride – it just seemed right.

Then we wandered around downtown for a while just hanging hearts wherever we pleased.

And finally, on our way out of town and on to Seattle, we stopped at a church that we just happened to pass that had multiple signs and banners supporting marriage equality and the LGBTQ community. We (he)art bombed them as a way of saying thank you to a bunch of strangers who didn’t know us but were fighting for our rights.

hearts: from derrick & kurt

15 Oct

Recently we spent an afternoon with Derrick and Kurt, a delightful couple from California. They have been together just shy of 20 years. They are also one of the lucky couples that got to marry legally, in 2008, before Prop 8 passed.

Derrick and Kurt love to play tennis together, so they hung a couple of hearts at the park in North Hollywood where they play tennis weekly. Thanks for bringing Love is a Radical Act to California!

front page news

15 Oct

We’re super excited to be on the front page of today’s paper talking about marriage equality and Love is a Radical Act. This Saturday’s installation up in Olympia (and Sunday in Seattle) will be our biggest action before the election. Thanks to everyone for supporting those who engage in the radical act of love.