Double TBT 

I’m posting draft pics until I get tired of doing it. This is from November 11, 2016,in observance of Veterans’ Day. It’s also a picture of my beautiful husband. 

Thank you for your service. 

Something amazing happened last Thursday. It went down like this:

Cashier at West End McDonald’s drive through: you’re not a veteran, are you?

Me: No, but I’m married to one. 

Cashier: your wife is a veteran? 

Me: no, my husband is. 

Cashier: your husband… 

Me: yes, my husband. 

Cashier to manager: does that count? He says his husband is a veteran. 

Me: wait, wait! I’m not asking for anything. 

Manager hands me back my credit card: yeah, it counts. Go on through.

I’m lovin’ it. 

An Act of Love

image

This is asking a lot. I know what it’s like to open yourself to scorn and ridicule. But I want to give folks an opportunity to stand up for love, support Pam, and Belmont United Methodist Church.

The comments section is open for this latest coverage from News Channel 5.

http://www.scrippsmedia.com/newschannel5/news/Minister–318740601.html?lc=Smart

Belmont Blvd

It’s difficult to distill a story down to three minutes, but WSMV Channel 4’s Jennifer Johnson did her best today as she reported for the Nashville NBC affiliate. The story aired this evening: “Pastor suspended 90 days for marrying same-sex couple“.

There are two pieces “the husband” and I wish could have made it through the editorial process.

The first is how much we need people to know how supportive Belmont UMC has been to the two of us, not just in regard to our wedding, but also throughout these fifteen years of church membership.

Through the years we have taught children, youth, and adult Sunday school classes, Disciple Bible Study, served as youth group leaders, chaperoned youth trips, and sung in the choir.

We do not list our involvement at Belmont in a boastful way. Rather, we are grateful to our church for accepting us and loving us. And not only Frank and me, but our four children (now adults) aslo grew up learning about the limitless love of God from Belmont’s faithful members and staff.

God through Belmont has blessed us beyond measure, so yes, we wish that could have been communicated in the news segment.

The second thing we wish hadn’t been cut was when I turned to the camera during the interview and said, “Alright Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup.”

image

Related links on icanhasgrace:
Extravagant Grace
Resolved: Pastor Charged for Officiating at Our Wedding
A Wedding and Two Sisters (video short by Anthony Scanio)
Just Married

It’s Time to Claim Your Power

On Friday, in a five to four vote, the Supreme Court of the United States made same-sex marriages legal in all fifty states. While it took decades to arrive at this point in time (one could even argue the entire history of the human race), it feels like reality has changed overnight. Never did I dare to dream this new reality would come to be in my lifetime and yet, here we are.

The generations behind me will have an easier time adjusting. Honestly, I look to them to know what to expect and how to act. As a gay man, I have lived my life as if I had a kind of disability. Depending on my surroundings, I hid the fact that I was gay.

I have never considered myself an activist. When I came to terms with my sexuality and voluntarily surrender my credentials as a pastor I did so out of concern for my children. When I traveled with my husband to Asheville, North Carolina to get married, I did it only for personal reasons.

For fifteen years, I have never kissed my  partner/husband in public. I haven’t hugged him or held his hand in a park, restaurant, or grocery store. That kind of guardedness has to bleed over until it becomes the expected and normal thing to do. Doing otherwise starts to feel too bold, too in your face, too shameful.

image

This past week I was on a trip for work in Orlando. Some kind of foresight was at work in both Frank and me, and he decided at the last minute to fly down and join me. We did not want to be apart if the court ruled. We were at breakfast at 10 am on Monday, repeatedly refreshing our SCOTUSblog twitter feed in anticipation of the news. My phone rang just as I read “Same-sex is a right!” Even then I didn’t understand; I couldn’t believe this was it. It took my sister who was calling to say it had happened for me to realize it. I dropped the phone and walked around the table, crying, to hug and kiss my husband. She told me later that she heard a waitress asking if I was alright. I didn’t hear the waitress. I was shaking with sobs. Eventually my sister hung up.

I spent what time I could the rest of the day watching Facebook as profile picture after profile picture turned rainbow colored. The White House lit up with a rainbow. The bridge in Clarksville, Tennessee, close to my hometown, changed its lights. I felt completely overwhelmed. I still do.

Frank and I had the same flight out of Orlando. At the airport, I realized that while everything had changed, we had not changed. I didn’t touch him during the trip home. I didn’t hug him or hold his hand. As we walked around and waited to board our plane, I even thought about it. Old habits die hard.

It’s time for me to claim my power. Others have done it for me long enough. I am only as disabled as I allow myself to be. I am not perfect, but I am perfectly gay. And there is nothing at all wrong with that.

I’m going to watch for Frank to get home from work this evening, and I’m going to meet him in the driveway and give him a hug and a full-on kiss on the mouth. If he doesn’t read this at work before he gets here, he’ll think someone died or something. He’ll be right. Something has died. And something amazing has been born.

image

No Wedding Pictures (Again), But Here’s a Picture of a Lovely Deer in the Snow


The wedding road trip to North Carolina has been postponed for a second time due another winter storm. This just makes for better reading in that book I keep saying I’m going to write.

There really is no sense complaining about the weather, so I’m looking on the bright side and hoping for the best. I keep thinking some rich friend will cry, “Enough!” and give us free tickets to California where it’s always warm and sunny.

One good thing I know will to be true: with the repeatedly shifting date of this marriage, no one can expect me to remember my anniversary. That’s just fine with me since I’m terrible at stuff like that anyway.

Gay couples have too many anniversaries. We have to keep up with when we first met, when we first had sex (not always the same date, but if it is I’m not judging), when we tell other people we first met (this is a common occurrence since we’re usually dating someone else at the time. It’s especially important if first date and first sex coincide), when we started seeing each other exclusively, when we broke up, when we got back together, and now, for some of us, when we got married, when and where our marriages are recognized, where they aren’t recognized. Some couples have been married more than once in different states…it’s a wonder we’re able to hold jobs, pay taxes, decorate fabulous homes, set fashion trends and all the other ways we contribute to society in the midst of the chaos that is our personal lives.

Add to that the fact that I’m not your typical gay man, having four children (all adults now) as I do. My three where born almost exactly two years and two weeks apart. How can I be expected to remember their birthdays? I have kept the dates in my wallet for years because official forms often require that I know them.

Oh, and did I mention that my mother and father share the same birthday? In the same month as their anniversary? Isn’t that strange?

And so just for the record, the wedding is now scheduled for March 13. It’s on a Friday. I’m getting married on Friday the 13th.

I’m just gonna leave that right there.

Hurry Up and Wait

My wedding has been postponed one week due to winter weather. I followed storm reports out of Buncombe County on Twitter through the day yesterday, and it was difficult to know what to do. When the governor of North Carolina declared a state of emergency, we called it. Having finally made the decision to wait was a relief. 

I’ve been in this relationship for almost 15 years. It hasn’t been until recently that I ever thought we’d get married. Now that we can, I’m more and more irritated, even angry, that we cannot perform the ceremony in Tennessee. Because we can’t, a fifteen minute drive to the county court clerk’s office has become a ten hour round trip, overnight stay in another state. I’ll need to take two days off from work to make it happen.

The Supreme Court will likely resolve all of this come June. That’s all well and good. But we need to get married now. It makes no difference why and it’s no one’s business. The fact remains that I am denied a right that people who live in 38 other states are given.

This will all be settled in about a week for us, but I don’t feel right not drawing attention to the injustice of it. Years ago, Tennesseans voted to constitutionally prohibit same sex marriages. More recently, a judge on the sixth circuit court upheld that law when it was tried. I feel like the people who voted for this constitutional ban, the judge who upheld it, or perhaps the State of Tennessee need to reimburse me to cover expenses accrued for this forced destination wedding. I’ll throw in compensation for pain and suffering, too, now that we’ve had to change the date because we could not travel.

As I said, this will be resolved and eventually be a fascinating story I can share with my grandchildren. But I wonder: what other group is suffering because of injustice? How am I blindly contributing to their pain? What am I doing to not only support them, but to work for change?