My friend David Jefferson writes of the four times he married his current, and sole, husband, due to the ups and downs of the Prop 8 saga. David writes about that, and the larger meaning of marriage to a gay man.
As the debate over gay marriage has raged in the years since, I’ve come to treasure my wedding less as a political act and victory for equal rights—although it most certainly was that. Rather, my wedding was an important rite of passage, one that all human beings should have the freedom to experience.
I was reminded of that fact last month when I went through another rite of passage: the funeral of my 96-year-old mother. I came back to California in November when she fell and broke her hip, and as fate would have it, she wound up at a nursing-rehab facility located right across the street from where Jeff and I were wed. On the evening before my mother died, my father and I wheeled her outside to watch one of those gorgeous California sunsets that happen only in the winter when the air is crisp and clear and you feel as if you can see all the way into the future. Mom was barely coherent, but my father and I did our best to reminisce about the happier times we’d shared as a family. We reminded Mom how she had danced the night away across the street on my wedding night, doing a little jitterbug to the great amusement of my friends. I lied and told her she would be dancing the jitterbug with me again soon.
It’s been 30 days since my mother’s funeral, and in the Jewish religion that calls for a trip to the cemetery; it sits on a hill overlooking the L.A. Equestrian Center and banquet halls, where Jeff and I were married. And so I’ll be visiting my mom this afternoon to pay my respects and tell her that I’m taking good care of my dad, with whom she shared 51 years of marriage, and to tell her the news about today’s gay-marriage victory. Somewhere in that expanse of California sky, I know Edith Jefferson will be doing the jitterbug.