Monday, February 23, 2004

Love, Honor, & Disobey

I had a fantastic vacation.

I flew out to San Francisco with plans to visit certain friends but few specific ideas of what we'd do once I got there. That all changed on Wednesday night, when my friend Elly called to tell me she was getting married at City Hall on Thursday to her long-time girlfriend, Janelle. (And, could I stay with another friend Thursday night, as it would be her wedding night?). The next morning, as my friend J. and I were finishing breakfast, the phone rang: Elly & Janelle were next in line to get their license, could we be there in twenty minutes for the wedding?

We threw on clothes and hopped into the car. We flew up the stairs to City Hall, in the door, and breathlessly dropped our belongings into a basket to go through security. "We're late for a wedding!"

The guard grinned. "You already have an appointment?"

"Not OUR wedding!"

She let us hurry through to the rotunda, which is lovely... I imagine few City Halls across the country would have made such graceful and elegant settings for weddings.

We hugged Elly and Janelle and Elly's parents and our other friends from college who had been able to make it. Then we waited for N., a friend of Elly's to get deputized to perform the ceremony... In the end, N. was not able to be deputized, but since she worked in City Hall with the man who was to perform the ceremony, he generously allowed her to do most of it.

While we waited, we watched many other couples get married. Awww.

Finally, the moment came. We stood around E. & J. in a circle. Several people held out cell phones, so that distant relatives could hear, or trying to record the ceremony onto answering machine tapes at home. Several of us snapped photographs. Several reporters got really into their wedding because it was very emotional, we had a large group of friends and family, and just because E. & J. are both so beautiful and special (it shows!).

They had written and mostly memorized their own vows, which were intense and beautiful. Tears came to my eyes, and many others were outright crying. Elly started out by telling Janelle, "Since we are here in an act of civil disobedience, I first promise to love, honor, and disobey you." The vows were a true expression of love and commitment. It was by far the most beautiful wedding I've attended (apologies to anyone reading this whose wedding I have attended...). After exchanging rings and vows, E. & J. embraced for several long, quiet minutes.

Here are some photos that made it into the press:

Yahoo News (see the slideshow, it was picture #28 last I checked)

E.'s mom is quoted at the end of this article.

Okay, so, that wasn't all. I also threw a dinner party for some old friends, went to the Exploratorium, bought a cool glow-in-the-dark Periodic Table of the Elements T-shirt (so I can emulate my alter ego), saw a play (don't bother), ate some awesome Mexican food, read a terrific novel (Stones From the River, by Ursula Hegi) and a hilarious non-fiction book (Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation, by Olivia Judson).

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