On June 26, 2013, the US Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision in United States v. Windsor declared part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which defined marriage solely as a legal union between a man and a woman as unconstitutional. Further, the Supreme Court in 2014 declined to hear appeals from five states and overturned many more states bans on same-sex marriage as well. The U.S. Government in 2014 expanded recognition of same-sex marriages in federal legal matters. The IRS has put their two cents in, and for those legally married in a state that allows it, will treat (and tax!) those in a same-sex marriage equally in tax-related matters.
The Inter-faith, Non-denominational religious organization Universal Life Church, through which I became an ordained minister, has been a forerunner in equality for all faiths, and therefore all people, with the right to be married. The mantra for Universal Life Church is “We are all children of the same universe” includes straight people, gay people, and those in-between, so naturally ULC has always encouraged their ministers to support equal rights in marriage. And through me (Rev. Desiree D. N. Eli), Weddings with Aloha promotes the same inclusive spirit of love for all. That being said, in mid-January 2015, I will have an opportunity to practice what we preach as I officiate my first same-sex wedding. I had a chance to meet and consult with a pair of Grooms, to discuss what wedding plans they had made and what did they envision for their special day. The two gentlemen have been together for four years, engaged for two years, but had to wait for the state laws to catch up with them before they could legally be wed. Lucky for me, they found my ad through a wedding website, we spoke by phone, then met in person, we clicked, and I will be the minister for their wedding.
Weddings with Aloha went through the process of changing the language in all of our paperwork, as well as our extensive collection of ceremony element templates to be either gender-neutral or gender-inclusive. Everything for my wedding services no longer is for the traditional “Bride” & “Groom” only but now reads as “Person 1” & “Person 2” or “Name 1” & “Name 2.” Updating all of my documents took quite a bit of time, but going forward in 2015, Weddings with Aloha is current with the times and laws (as well as always staying in the know with the latest wedding fashion and trends).
Speaking for me personally, I have been a friend to the L, B, G, T community all of my adult life. This goes back to when I was a college student sneaking underage into a gay dance club, and now finally I will be able to do my part for marriage equality as I officiate my first All-Groom wedding ceremony. Of course, the wedding plans my two Grooms have made already are fabulous: involves each Groom walking down the aisle with one of their dogs, each guy having a special song for their processional, includes a nod to the Vietnamese heritage of one of the Grooms, possibly as well as designer Alexander McQueen’s clothing, female groomsmen, a Hawaiian Lei ceremony, and all taking place at an exclusive rental home on a ridge above the Carmel, California area.
I am so excited and honored!
Looking forward to officiating many more wedding ceremonies for all people who are in love and want to make the commitment of marriage. Yay Love!