I wait until the last minute to look at the whole Wedding Issue to determine its theme. We’ve had “Rewriting History,” “Celebrating Us,” and “At Last” recently, this one is “To Have & To Hold.” When the traditional wedding vows were written to include how two people would have and hold each other until death do them part, it’s becoming more and more clear how important this dual-purpose statement is to the same-sex couples getting married today. Not only do the couples get to have each other, the legal marital status, the weddings, the recognition; but the couples also get to hang on to each other forever, through changes in immigration and death and inheritance. We have and we hold.
Nowhere is this more obvious than when talking about family and children. When I contacted Ben Meents about featuring his family in this wedding issue, I asked if he’d care to write the piece. He responded that he would, but wondered what angle would be appropriate. Good question; there is no bad answer. Since starting these comprehensive wedding issues three years ago, we’ve been political, we’ve been religious, we’ve been fashion-focused, we’ve been detail-oriented. The angles have been as diverse as the couples represented in our pages. Every couple is different. Each wedding is unique.
So, I told him that we need a bit more emotion. Connection. This magazine comes from a state that has had marriage equality for over a year now, but this magazine is accessible from anywhere around the globe. As such, we still observe Lavender’s role in the greater discussion about marriage equality and we provide more evidence of how same-sex marriage builds a better society: union by union, family by family. I told Ben that the family he’s built with Chet would be a wonderful example for the world.
What happened next could not have surprised or delighted me more.
Ben’s 13-year-old daughter, Emma, wrote their wedding story. And I dare you to keep a dry eye as you read it. She talks about the wedding itself, the family and friends who attended it, the family that Ben and Chet have with her, Sophia, and Dominic. She tells us what it is like to have what they do…and how they will hold it forever.
Think of the world ahead for Emma, Sophia, and Dominic. Their future as siblings in this family may never involve any such changes as those we’ve seen in the past years. Dominic may never know of a time when this family, being comprised of two dads and three kids from different unions, might not have been legally recognized. By telling their own story, they can help kids in other states achieve what Minnesota has, sooner than later.
To have, to hold…with hope and thanks,