Dear Family and Friends:
I hope this little event announcement (which, really, shouldn't be scary, it won't affect anyone's little earthly existence but ours) doesn't upset any reader. We have entered into this little ceremony of disobedience to be part of history in the grand view, but maybe also to feel a little more legitimate as all our married friends and family feel by having uttered those words of commitment some time ago. So here's the details:
On Tuesday evening as Rodger arrived home from work he asked me, "So, do you want to get married?"
I replied, "What?"
He explained what had happened downtown. On Tuesday after some clandestine, secret and very un-public meetings, the County Commissioner and 3 cronies (the liberal women commissioners - - - all social activists) publicly announced that Multnomah County would begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses on Wednesday morning at 10:00 after a 9:00 Media Announcement at the County Headquarters in S.E. Portland. The one commissioner left out of this is a conservative Baptist who long ago has made public his disdain for such horrific acts, so of course, with four of five votes in hand, and after consulting attorneys, the women forged ahead knowing it would cause great public debate in Oregon.
My response to Rodger, by the way, was, "Hm... gee, this is too sudden (15 years later)...I'll have to think about it." Of course what my mind said was I'd have to absolutely absorb this huge change in our actual world, and possibly consider just what WAS going on downtown.
At 0600 Wednesday morning I began to watch the downtown local news on all the channels right up through about 10:30 am. By then, the County Building was surrounded by Gay Partners hoping they could do their bit of civil disobedience if you will. The reward for that action would result in a legal marriage for a tiny bit of time before the holier-than-thou's could get their grasp around the change in events. I was astounded how peacefully things went..there was a total of two absolutely crazy and disturbed protesters. TWO. One of those was temporarily detained after spitting on one of the couples after getting their certificate.
Until 7:00 PM we had sorta kinda begun to think how this could be done
in several ways: 1) Plow downtown and have an instant wedding and be
done, 2) get the license and then have a ceremony here at home with friends in a couple of weeks after some thoughtful planning, 3) Wait and see what happens with the legal and emotional wrangling after the anger from the right subsided. We could just go to join in the fun, or make the decision based on taking part in a bit of history in the
making. We could make legitimate the claim we've long made that we
love each other.
By 7:00 PM last night after watching the very upset Bible and Evangelical ministers hiding behind their "Consultant" spokesman pronounce the fight ahead, seeing Lon Mabon appear out of nowhere after years of lawsuits and silence to say he had "warned Oregonians" that the gays were out to destroy them, and seeing the Governor say he was upset how this had been secretly brought about..........we felt decision time was at our door knocking. Would we or wouldn't we? So MANY thoughts!
Boy the clock began to speed up. By 7:40 the decision was in. We were taking option number 1 because we weren't sure that the window of opportunity would stay open through the weekend here in conservative Oregon. If we got the license then the marriages were
disallowed in two days, it just wouldn't be the same. A couple of calls were made to family, friends, and boss until it was too late to call and be polite, and we went to bed.
Hence, we were up at 0600 Thursday morning, on the road by 0700 and in the line at about position 120 by 0800 when the doors opened.
Words cannot describe the thrilling energy and joy-to-the core feeling radiating from such an over-joyed crowd that we were sharing this moment with. On this day, couples and families exchanged conversations and cheers with people you would never have actually talk to in other situations. The celebratory mood carried through with cheers as each
couple left the building with envelopes in hand. The process was handled beautifully and efficiently with smiling County Staff, Sheriffs, Clerks, Lawyers, etc. But Basic Rights Oregon volunteers were the true stars. They had the process streamlined and were always available to answer questions and direct you on your way. They are the best wedding planners you could ever ask for!!
There was one screaming protester at the whole affair and he was surrounded by some wonderful cute girls all carrying placards opposing his hatred for everything that wasn't born-again Christian. On the back of his sign these are some of the folks going to the burning hells-o-fire (along with us marrying â€œpervertsâ€: "Mormons, Muslims, Adulters (sic), Rebellious Women, Drunkards, Pot-Smokers, Gamblers, Atheists, Liberals, fornicators, homos, perverts & Evolutionists". The couple in front of us had been together 15 years. Their suggestion on the picketer's sign was that we play Bingo and see who could rack up the highest score of offenses to get into Hell. Mark of course would win as he once was a Mormon and the rest had no religious affiliation. Go Mark!
Oh, yes, we heard on the news later that one fellow equated our relationships to a pet-like relationship apparently since he brought in his dog and tried to get a license for them as a
pair. He was ignored.
We knew we wanted to get the whole thing done TODAY so we motored immediately to Keller Auditorium right downtown where wedding ceremonies were being conducted by a large group of licensed ministers from various backgrounds. Once there we were paired with a cute Female Couple (with 10 month old son Xander in tow) to be our witnesses (and we theirs) and the Minister conferred with us about the vows we would use. We chose an ancient, Pagan
"Handfasting" vow partly because variations of that exchange WERE used in same-sex ceremonies long ago. We went first and believe you me, for a couple who never thought we'd be able to stand together and make those same promises all our family and friends make, it was a tearful few minutes that brimmed with love and warmth. We then witnessed Kathy
and Alaina Zipp's ceremony taking pictures for them all the while.
We stood there married. I'll be damned! We were met with congratulations from others as we went back down two floors and exited the building into a sunlit and beautiful moment in the Portland morning. We grabbed some lunch, and full of unmitigated thrill, we hit a few Jewelry Stores and actually bought a pair of wedding bands before we returned home.
What a DAY. . . ! As we live and breathe! Fifteen years and this is a thrilling moment of literal commitment and publicly showing that OUR love is legitimate.
We're still considering the mini-party celebrating this event...what a
day ! ! ! The pic may not look like much, but meant something to us:
This was the view from our wedding spot.
The beginning of the old ball and chain life.
Standing in line outside the Multnomah County Buildling with 200 others.
The couple who were our witnesses.
The great 4 kids from U of O â€¦â€¦the girls grew up in Sisters, and the guys were from Seattle.