by wjw on October 22, 2013

weddingsmallI mentioned in my last post that one of the events of the last few days has been a wedding.  What I didn’t mention was that I was the officiant.

I’ve been a mail-order minister for decades, and have had the pleasure of uniting various friends and acquaintances in matrimony.  When I was asked to officiate at the wedding of a couple of people I knew only very slightly, I was happy enough to oblige.  It was all kind of thrown together over a couple weeks, but it came together at the last minute the way these things do.  Because the happy couple had met at a Doctor Who convention, I slipped a couple references to the program into the vows.  What I didn’t expect was a Tardis Recovery Vehicle to show up at the venue, with the little blue light on top.  But then no one ever expects the Tardis, now, do they?

The wedding of Matt and Eric was made possible only in August, when one brave county clerk in New Mexico started issuing licenses to same-sex couples entirely on his own, and inspired other county clerks to do the same.  In some counties, district judges ordered local officials to begin licensing same-sex marriages.

This had been tried before, back in 2004, but the liberal Richardson administration quashed it, trying to shore up their position with family-values voters.  Now, under a Republican governor, there no longer seems to be the political will to oppose same-sex marriage, though a few spoilsport legislators filed suit, as spoilsport legislators will.  But even if they prevail— and they probably won’t— any marriages performed in the meantime will, and will remain, legal.

Here’s the little homily with which I opened the ceremony:

I’ve been a mail-order minister for a long time, since the mid-1970s, and I got ordained just for such a occasion as this.  I wanted to be able to help my friends celebrate their commitment and love for each other without necessarily being wedded to any institutions or dogmas. 

 And I’ve performed marriages ever since then.  And because I only do marriages, I get to do the best part of being a minister, which is to witness two people celebrate their love and commitment in front of their friends and family. I get to officiate and witness at the best and most joyful life ceremonies— and I get to have lots of cake.

But I have to say, back in the 1970s when I first got ordained, the possibility that I would someday help to unite two men in marriage— with each other!—was not on my radar.  Nor was it on anyone’s radar, no matter how radical their views at the time. 

My day job is science fiction writer, and I was very familiar with the speculative literature of the day, and I can safely say that even the most forward-thinking writers, even from those whose brains dwell in the future most of the time, never considered that a day like this might come.

But one of the things that science fiction does is to celebrate change.  Without change, the future does not arrive.  Without change, evolution ceases.  Without change, the Time Stream becomes stagnant. 

And so we’re just here to celebrate the wedding of Mark and Eric, but to celebrate the positive change that has brought so much joy and happiness into the world.

So let’s begin our celebration. 

And celebration it was, dear reader.  Plus, there was lots and lots of cake.

Arno October 22, 2013 at 4:49 pm

I share your liberal attitude. And by the way, go to Great SF&F to see
what the webmaster thinks about you and about military music!

Yours, Arno

Jerry October 23, 2013 at 4:33 am

“Lots of Cake.” That’s my favorite food in the whole world: free!

John Appel October 24, 2013 at 1:47 am

The dramatic societal changes of the last 15 years are up there with “computers” and “space colonies” with things SF authors of the 70s and 80s got wrong. (Well, except for John Brunner getting computers more right than most in The Shockwave Rider. )

wjw October 24, 2013 at 4:31 am

SF in the late 60s-early 70s explored every variation of sexuality imaginable, some of it quite creepy now . . . but same-sex marriage was, I guess, UNimaginable.

James R. Strickland October 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm

re: the homily Well said. And yeah, the social changes of the last 20 or so years /have/ been astonishing when you sit back and look at them. Wow. Also, WJW is a /minister??/ Who knew?


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