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Comment: Marriage is a step into the unknown for many gay people

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  1. Gary Powell 2 Sep 2013, 10:21am

    A really interesting comment piece on an important topic. It was good that Stephen raised the issue of what form LGBT weddings might take. I hope more couples (both LGBT and hetero) will feel happy to have a low-key, inexpensive wedding day if they want to, as I’ve felt for some time that perceived expectations with regard to lavish and expensive wedding days might be putting many couples off getting married at all.

    1. Dave North 2 Sep 2013, 10:27am

      My CP ceremony was a simple council office affair followed by an “All-U-Can-Eat” Chinese buffet for us and the few invited guests.

      Total. £75 quid.

      Mind you, I am a tight fisted Scotsman who sees no need for all the bunting and bluster.

      1. Gary Powell 2 Sep 2013, 10:34am

        I bet you both, and the guests, all had a great day as well!

        People are, of course, free to do with their money, or their credit cards, whatever they legally like. But spending thousands of pounds, or tens of thousands of pounds, on one day’s entertainment, has never seemed to me like the best of ideas for people of fairly average wealth on fairly average incomes. Especially if it is done from a sense of obligation and needing to meet “expectations”.

      2. Does that mean I can call Scottish people “tight-fisted bastards” on this comments section because you’ve reinforced that stereotype about your own countrymen?

    2. And no that doesn’t mean I want a Glasgow kiss.

  2. This article all seems a bit behind the times.

    People have been getting CPs for quite a while now, and they really don’t vary from marriage in any way apart from name.

    1. And social status, and immigration law, and international recognition, and pensions, and religious status…

  3. Is it?

    I’ve been with my partner for 8 years. We are going to get married as a matter of formality – but it makes no difference to our relationship otherwise. It’s not a step into the unknown for us.

  4. For our CP back in April 2006 we invited folk to come dressed smart-casual, to bring cameras, & not to give gifts.
    We had a lovely ceremony with 37 guests, followed by 30 minutes of group photos, then went to the local noodle house where folk were free to order what they wanted from the menu, plus house wine.
    We went over the road to the nearby pub & joined the Grand National crowd there.
    No speeches, no gifts, no obligation to stick around beyond the ceremony, just a great happy fun day with valued friends and a great collection of photos & videos.
    Including rings & a week in the sun, it all came in under £2K.

  5. I get the point but for most of us that have live through HIV, gay marriage doesn’t really represent a brave new world. Its a refreshing distraction. There are many homosexuals that have been in long term relationships. Actually out of my heterosexual family I am the only one still in a relationship. Many rights activists have had to fight for hundreds of years to get to this point. The brave new world is the discrimination that we will face by having this recognition. Not unlike womens rights to some degree. We would be naive to think gay marriage is the end of discrimination. As we already have seen by some of the name calling and demonstrations against gay marriage, it is just the beginning of a new wave of discrimination. That is the new world we should be prepared for.

    1. Dave North 2 Sep 2013, 11:33am

      ” We would be naive to think gay marriage is the end of discrimination!”


      Given that we are now “out there” it can be the START of discrimination.

      But at least we now have legal tools in our arsenal against those who publicly decry our LEGALLY recognised relationships.

    2. Gary Powell 2 Sep 2013, 11:40am

      You are right, Brett, that the stage of social acceptance LGBT people have reached has only come about as a result of people – political activists, scientists, humanists, secularists and LGBT activists alike – challenging accepted norms of prejudice and discrimination. And the HIV crisis was a devastating blow to the gay community. You are also right to suggest that equal marriage has its opponents who are trying their best to generate a backlash. But in my view, in spite of the victimisation, it’s also important for our happiness to concentrate on the positives, and for us to try not to allow the concept of “victim” to become part of our identity. There is so much more social acceptance of being gay in western societies, and the barriers to equality are being swept away. We should try to be as positive as we can, welcome equal marriage as another good development, and try to be confident enough to show society, and our partners, just how much we have to give.

  6. Having had a blessing in 2001 a civil partnership on the anniversary of the blessing in 2006 and now planning a wedding on the 15th anniversary of the blessing for 2016 I have to say I agree with this article. we always took the next step thinking a actual marriage would never come but were glad it has I came out at 14 in 1993 20 years ago and was active in the equality fight both nationally and locally. However I do feel with equality the community has fractured and I am not sure thats a good thing or a bad one but for me it was a good thing. You see me and my partner have been together 13 years however whether it be through jealousy or lack of understanding the community has never really accepted long term relationships. So we have found another community of our own most of our friends are straight ranging from 18 to 80 and from all backgrounds and all just accept our partnership in fact they all say were married already in their eyes.

    1. Paul Essex/London 3 Sep 2013, 1:18am

      Woops. Meant to like and instead have managed to dislike and report your comment. Sorry!

  7. My husband to be and I are getting married on September 26 this year.

    It became legal on August 1.

    The licence costs $115 and we have an officiant we give a donation to.
    Apart from that we have a budget wedding indeed.

    Our neighbor offered us her driveway next to her wild flower garden as a venue. Our neighbors will provide tables and chairs. The reception will be a pot luck (bring a dish) at the same venue. And photos and video will be taken by a neighbor using one of our cameras.

    We have been together 13 years and regard ourselves already married and so just wanted a low key budget taking of vows ceremony.

  8. Marriage can be hard. Weddings should be easy!

    Don’t spend more than you can afford, don’t say things you’ll regret later, don’t fret about other people’s opinions.

    Do try to include everyone you love, do keep your sense of humour, do what feels right for the two of you.


  9. Robert in S. Kensington 2 Sep 2013, 12:55pm

    I was invited to a gay wedding in New York just over a year ago. It was held in a lovely restaurant with about 75 guests roughly three quarters straight. I have to say, it was one of the loveliest weddings I’ve ever attended. The guests were delightful. There was huge applause once the Justice of the Peace pronounced the couple married. I really don’t think it’s going to be such a big deal once our own couples start marrying in the UK. There will always be the haters out there, but my advice is to ignore them. The law says we can marry and that’s what counts. Don’t forget, the haters are a minority too, usually religious nutters. They were saying the same things when CPs were about to be introduced and now look where we are. The world didn’t end. This has nothing to do with redefining marriage but about expanding a law to include gay couples, nothing more. Straights will continue to marry regardless and so too will we.

  10. Just do it your way. Don’t worry.

    I for married in July. Was lovely. My Auntie-In_law sewed some clothes, my mother send hankies from overseas, we exchanged rings in front of a justice of the peace and people took photos with their phones.

    We had a nice lunch and a beer at a restaurant after, home, shower, out again for a day of being married and home again for the wedding night.

    It’s fun to be married.

    The author makes a good point though, we have no idea what we are doing as up until the last decade or so, this sort of thing was not an option for more than a handful of us.

    People, start writing books, making instructional videos and demystifying it for the rest of the world, gay, straight and everyone else too.

  11. You could change “marriage” to “sex” in this article and the issues would be the same. But, somehow, I don’t see gay men and women being paralysed into celibacy at the prospect of worrying about who’s a top and who’s a bottom or whatever analogies you want to conjure.

    Getting married isn’t about making political or social statements. It’s not about defining new modes of expression. And, it’s certainly not about weddings.

    Getting married is about two people deciding that they are a family and being committed enough to that to put the force of law behind it.

    So, if you have someone you want to marry, the two of you should decide what it means to you and how you want to go about it. If you don’t have someone you want to marry [yet], then go worry about something else.

    My husband and I were in CA when marriages started there in 2008. We got a license, found an officiator and made our vows on a rock overlooking the Pacific.

  12. Michaelandfred 2 Sep 2013, 2:24pm

    I’m actually more worried about a trend I see of couples barely together an eye blink getting married because they can, not the opposite. Sadly, our society has become a “wedding” obsessed one, and no longer a “marriage” based one. And our huge divorce rates are reflecting that.

    Those of us of a generation for whom this never was even the remotest consideration when we were younger built lasting relationships (ours is now 27 years) because of the love and commitment we shared despite any kind of recognition. We have married now, and although we really did experience love at first sight, even had we been able would we have considered marriage in the first few years.

    I fear, and already see in the media, gays and lesbians getting married, some already divorcing, who were together a year, a year and a half simply because now they can, regardless of if they should, like people getting sloppy, black out drunk on their 21st birthday because now it’s legal. It’s not going anywhere.

  13. Jock S. Trap 2 Sep 2013, 3:09pm

    I do find this article patronising and quite frankly a little immature, stupid trying to preach to the not so stupid.

    Actually many gay men and women grew into adulthood hoping, one day they’d be able to show their love and chose marriage. Now we have.

    How we do it, answer questions doesn’t change it’s up to the couple getting married.

    It’s the choice that has changed. Being able to marry or indeed chose not to. Can’t really see what’s so difficult about that.

    It’s not so much what it does, or doesn’t do as what it means to all adults in the position to choose.

    1. Staircase2 3 Sep 2013, 3:30am

      What a load of rubbish

  14. Michael N. Inkpin-Leissner 2 Sep 2013, 5:03pm

    Me and my Adam are looking forward to our 5th anniversary on the 5th of December. We went through all the stages of love, fight, disagreement, sleeping in different rooms due to stubbornness, finding each other boring and interesting…
    I prefer the term civil union or partnership. I am a Greek Orthodox Christian, my Adam is Buddhist. We both believe in faith, we were meant to be together. Our partnership is a commitment. A Civil Partnership excludes an open relationship (The word is a contradiction in itself). If you are in a socalled open relationship, do not go for marriage or union.
    The comment shows, that some people are afraid of commitment. But Civil partnership or marriage is a commitment. A commitment out of love. It is not a fashion or something that is cool to do. I can only say, take it serious! The reward is amazing!

  15. I’ve had a difference experience to some of the other commentators and as a result I can relate to this article.

    I was one of the first out of my group of friends to get CP’d. I was consequently one of the first out of my family to get divorced. My ex-wife, lacking any positive role models, married without truly understanding the concept of marriage. To her it was just another party, until we signed the marriage certificate and she realised she had legally committed.
    Had she grown up straight she would have had a more realistic idea of what marriage was. Straight people marry earlier, are more likely to have married friends and more likely to cement their marriages with mortgages and children.
    As it was, my ex and quite a lot of couples around that time seemed to be marrying for the party.
    Luckily that is changing, and in this more serious environment I have married again. For life this time.

  16. Staircase2 3 Sep 2013, 3:33am

    Great article, Stephen

  17. My mate and I will celebrate our 10th anniversary next week. We had a private ceremony with a marriage commissioner (civil) and a few friends in our living room. No fanfare, perhaps not very romantic (and we hadn’t yet bought the rings), but it was just right for us. Being able to marry after 27 years together was an unexpected delight, and we wasted little time doing so after the law changed in our province (British Columbia.)
    A Marriage and a wedding are not the same thing, and no one should feel bound by the traditions of hetero weddings. Do just as you wish, and have fun, no matter how grand or simple you decide to do it.

  18. To be honest as interesting as this comment maybe, straight people when thei commit to one another, if it’s their first marrieg, are also stepping into the unknown as no two marriages are the same, gay or straight! And secondly, CPs have been around a while now and that is pretty close to marriage!! Many gay men and woman have lived together like a married couple…

    Enough said!

  19. Quaker Meeting for Worship to celebrate our relationship (1995).
    Civil Partnership (2006).
    Wedding (2016 – here we come!!!).

    1. Sorry, I meant 2014. Don’t know where 2016 came from!

  20. Anna Hayward 3 Sep 2013, 7:03pm

    We had a Humanist celebration of our Civil Partnership – a wedding in all but name, and it was a brilliant day. We had about 50 guests, exchanged vows, wedding cake, buffet, fizzy wine etc. But due to some mix up over the paperwork, we had to do the legal bit another day, up at the Registry Office, which was not a problem at all.

    We’ve toyed with the idea of ‘upgrading’ to a marriage certificate, but my partner romantically suggested she could think of better things to do with 60 quid.

    We got CP’d due to legal concerns about the kids, my access to my partner’s pension (as I’m not able to earn) etc. We had the ceremony to celebrate our commitment. As far as we’re concerned, we are married already.

  21. We just got married in July of this year. In was a simple ceremony, with ourselves and the few guests present blowing bubbles afterwards, and enjoying a fabulous supper at a harbourfront restaurant. My neck of the woods is in New Brunswick, Canada.
    We married almost a year later since we’ve first met. Regardless of whether we married or not, we were both commited to each other, yet being somewhat old-fashioned, we believed in marriage. In this day and age, a couple can be engaged for years, but not actually get married.
    It was important to ourselves that we acknowlege that our union was to be a lasting one, and people in our community know that we are a happily married couple. We’ve never had an incident because we’re same-sex, and if we got looks, we’ve never noticed, since we have eyes only for each other. People often smile when they see us, and that is simply because they see us as two people deeply in love.

  22. We got married here in Spain after 35 years together. We loved the day though we kept it fairly simple. Due to the heat we had the ceremony in the evening then about 30 for a sit down restaurant meal. Now we are 42 years together and I can only say that day was so special to us our only fear now is when one of us dies. However we have talked it all out and accepted the inevitable. I like being in love its just nice.

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