Jen & Theresa - 6.17.12

When I began officiating wedding ceremonies in 2010, gay marriage was not yet legal nationwide in the United States. It was still illegal in Ohio, and remained so until the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling. During that time, I officiated four non-legally binding same-sex ceremonies. I also collected signatures for a proposed 2014 ballot initiative to repeal Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage. (Obergefell obviated the need for such an initiative.) Since then, I've performed dozens of legally binding same-sex or non-cisgender ceremonies, treating them with the same care and professionalism as I have every other. Here are the most important details regarding your ceremony if you are gay, transgender or genderqueer:

I call you what you intend to call each other after you're married, whether that's two husbands, two wives, two partners or whatever variation on those titles you choose to give each other. 

For transgender and nonbinary individuals, I will use the gendered or non-gendered pronouns you each prefer. I'll use whatever language makes you feel the most comfortable and correctly represents this vital part of your identity.

I make no reference to anyone's gender identity or sexual orientation during the ceremony. Why even mention it? Love is love - it transcends both of those identifiers. 

Conservative opposition to same-sex marriage has led to uncertainty about the future of the institution in the United States. Whether such unions are recognized by the state in the future or not, I will continue to solemnize them just as I did before such unions were recognized.

Lizy & Meech - 5.25.13

I have never understood the vehement opposition to same-sex marriage. To me, it smacks of insecurity, small-mindedness and a profound lack of empathy. Anyone who wishes to stand in the way of the love between any two consenting adults begs the question: has that person ever considered what it would be like if their love was the one deemed inferior to others?

Empathy is the backbone of morality – we tend to treat people well because we know how bad it sucks when people hurt us. But this consideration, it seems, is not universal. I hope that those people will find a gay or genderqueer individual in their lifetimes to know and to love, as that love and familiarity will lead to understanding. Understanding then gives way to empathy, which in turn makes that individual (and whichever community they belong to) harder to demonize. 

Rachel & Maria - 8.17.13

My hope is that one day, in a social context, gender identity and sexual orientation will be as inconsequential as the brand of toothpaste you use or your favorite color. Because none of those four things tell me anything important about who you are as a person – what your values and ideals are, if you value truth and openness, or how you treat the people you know and love and those you don't. Those are things I can only know by knowing you, not the labels you adopt.

What's the upshot of my admittedly disjointed musings? You have given your love freely to someone else who has done the same, and you both wish to commit to that love forever. That's all I care about.

Dallas and Landon - 9.12.20
A poster for my 2013 petition effort, designed by Laura Peters.
Jen & Theresa kindly agreed to let me collect signatures at their wedding reception for the petition in 2013.