We are married. Again. And it was a special day. That in and of itself surprised both my wife and I.
Upon signing SB1 into law, the state of Hawaii made marriage equality the law of the land. For LGBTQ families such as ours, we are finally able to avail ourselves of the rights, privileges and responsibilities that other committed couples who choose to get married are afforded. We had hopes that it would be a simple administrative process to convert our civil union into a marriage. Unfortunately, the state of Hawaii has a few hiccups in streamlining procedures.
Before December 2nd, when the marriage equality law went into effect, we had figured out that we needed to have our marriage solemnized. What does that mean? We needed to get married again. And we were in a time crunch. Panda is leaving in mid-December for our trip down under, Shortstack and I headed out soon after. We would not be back in Hawaii until after the new year, which meant that if we waited until then, we would shoot ourselves in the foot when it comes to filing our taxes. To complicate things further, our amazing officiants from our first wedding were only licensed for civil unions. We took to our friend and social media networks in search of an officiant licensed for weddings. And, much to our pleasurable surprise a couple, who are friends of Panda’s and whom she greatly admires and respects, reached out to us and offered to conduct our wedding. We quickly agreed and then started the process of getting (another) marriage license and figuring out a day that would work for all of us before our holiday travel whisked my wife away.
Panda and I had told our officiants that we would be happy to come to their office(s) after work or wherever would be convenient for them. The way we viewed this second wedding was simple: this is a legal hoop that we needed to jump through in order to formalize our married couple-hood. We wanted to get it done so that we were legally married; so that we could start the necessary immigration process; so that we could file our taxes as the established couple and family that we have been for the past three years. So, we told our officiants, please do what you wish; we just want to say whatever is needed and sign/submit whatever is necessary so that we can be – you know – officially married.
We arranged for a small beach wedding on Sunday, December 8th our little ‘ohana and our two officiants would gather and marry us. To make it a bit more personally meaningful, Panda and I decided at the last minute to re-read our vows from wedding #1 and ti exchange our rings again. We did get out of our pjs and into nicer clothes (woohoo for showers!), picked up lei for all of us and headed out to Hawaii Kai. When we gathered at our officiants’ house, we realized that it was so comfortable and relaxed and that it would be quite fitting if we could just get married in their front yard. After an hour of chatting, catching up, some tech difficulties when trying to pull up the necessary Dept of Health documents we all stepped out into the front yard, Shortstack stood between his two mamas, our friends took their place as our officiants and their youngest son stepped up to become our photographer.
Our friends made this wedding #2 day so incredibly special. We had it in mind that it would be a fanfare-less ceremony. In retrospect, we are so thankful that our friends were so much wiser and more dedicated than we were in making wedding #2 a significant day. Amazingly enough, I don’t want to share all of what was said and messaged here in this space. It meant that much to me. It meant that much to listen to the message that our friends so thoughtfully and intentionally crafted and shared. But I will say this, their understanding and belief in the transformative power of love as well as the significant act of marriage, even now makes me aspire to an authenticity and love-focused power in our family and marriage. I cried. I suppose that doesn’t surprise any of you. We re-read our vows, our boy handed us our wedding rings, we hugged, we took pictures. And then we were pronounced married. So wonderfully married. Again.
We spent the rest of wedding day enjoying the company and the example of loving partnership and excellent parenthood in the kitchen of our friends. While champagne and wine were enjoyed, pupus were thrown into the oven, young kids played video games and teenagers made their way in and out of the house; Panda and I soaked in the amazingness of our second wedding day. And we were so blessed to do so in the presence of two people that we hold in such esteem and have such respect for. As we watched their devotion to and affection of one another, we couldn’t help to comment as we were making our way home how we hope that when we reach our 20-ish year together, that we will be treating one another with the gentleness and love that our friends had between them.
We went to sleep that night, holding onto one another and counting our blessings that we were able to find our “person” in this life. And that we have the honor and privilege to marry one another … much less the blessing to marry one another twice.
#marriageequality #lgbtqfamily #aplsohana