One of the most meaningful wedding ceremonies I have performed as a New Hampshire Justice of the Peace was on Loon Mountain in September, with a panorama of the White Mountains before us. Rather than that priceless vista, however, it was the couple and our special connection that made it memorable.
It all started when they came across a picture of me standing in front of a rainbow flag. The two women had wanted to be married for years but were stymied by the laws of their home state, North Carolina. When the US Congress repealed the infamous DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, they decided to wait no longer and to come to New Hampshire to legalize their commitment. I was the fortunate celebrant they contacted and what fun that was.
This was not the first time that photo motivated same gender couples to contact me. I make it clear on my web site that I believe in marriage equality but somehow the visual seems to help them take the next step.
I posted that photo a couple of years ago to counteract the all-too-common anti-gay sentiments in the media. I always approached my role as a wedding celebrant with complete openness. If two people want to get married, I want to support them. Traditional wedding ceremony material — pronouns like “bride” and “groom” — might need to be changed. Beyond that, I still rely primarily on the couple’s wishes because what is meaningful to them is most important. Meanwhile, I have accumulated several resources, specifically written for same gender ceremonies, to assist when needed.
If I had a motto on my web site or Facebook page, it might be something like “Celebrations of love found here” or more simply, “It’s Just Love.” However, it is the visual I rely upon, that eternal symbol of hope, the rainbow, to convey my openness.