I am not a traditionalist at all, so I was thinking we totally forego the whole marriage ceremony thing and fill out the paperwork and be done with it, but the ceremony was important to Charles. As the 2012 Presidential Election debates raged, and the conservative candidates kept spewing bad hateful rhetoric about people like us, I came to see Charles's point of view. A ceremony became important to me too because there were all of these people saying that because Charles and I are men, we couldn't do this thing. A ceremony became important because Charles and I would be able to stand with our friends the Bloggers and tell the world that we loved each other.
When we got into contact with Rev Blogger, he emailed us a ceremony to look over. It was fine, sentimental in all the right spots, but the vows just didn’t seem right to me:
“I, _______ take you, _____,
to be my wedded _______,
to be the companion of my days.
We shall bear together whatever sorrow and adversity life may lay upon us.
We shall share together whatever joy and fulfillment life may hold in store.
Together in love,
to work and to share,
to grow and to understand,
and to discover a deeper, fuller life.
I pledge to support you in your hopes and dreams, as if they were my own.
I pledge to care for you, respect you, honor you, cherish you, and to love you.”
These are sweet vows, and very lovely, but the more I read them the more I felt that something wasn't right. It wasn't until I started looking into different versions of wedding vows that I realized what was wrong, and its why we picked the vows that we did:
"I, ___, take you, ___, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, as long as we both shall live."
We went with the traditional wedding vow. We did so for a reason. You see, our wedding in Keokuk, Iowa would be a lawful wedding. In Alabama, marriage between two men who love each other is illegal. We don't have equal rights in Alabama, but in Iowa, we do. We wanted to be sure, when we showed the video to family and friends and they heard us say our vows, that they would know that what we were doing wasn’t going to be two guys playing at being married. We wanted them to know that we were being LAWFULLY wedded.
To have and to hold, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live