Gay Youth Reflect on LGBT Weddings and Marriage
A lot has changed since I sat home on Prom night and dreamed about my own wedding — with the Captain of the Football team! Today’s GLBT high schoolers are dreaming, thinking, even planning their weddings. To get an idea of where gay youth stands on issues of weddings and marriage, I spoke with three students about their hopeful nuptials.
The two men and one woman I spoke with all liked the idea of getting married and having a wedding, with Nina being the most adamant. “I dream of being married,” she says. “I’m looking to get married after I finish college; so about 23-ish.” Nina’s already chosen her bride. “I truly love her. We have talked about a wedding. If it was up to her we would just jump the border and get hitched in Canada.”
Ironically enough, Donald thinks he should get married at age 28, and Will doesn’t have a time in mind; “Just when I find the right guy.”
All three students stressed a “traditional” wedding, testament to gay youth wanting to be “normal,” with many of the same hopes and dreams as everyone else. Location is big on their agenda; Nina wants to get married by a lake, “Maybe in Colorado in autumn.” Max and Donald both favor the seashore. Says Donald, “the calm environment might nullify my anxiety.”
Whether or not the parents would support, or even attend the wedding, is another matter. Nina says her parents are behind her 100 percent, adding “It would only be sane if my whole family attended the ceremony.” Max isn’t sure how his parents would react (he’s not out to them), but says “If they really love me, they’d be happy for me.” Donald says his parents would be “mortified,” and isn’t expecting them to show up with gifts in hand.
Money, too, plays into the picture. Max says that if his or his husband’s parents don’t pitch in, “we’d figure something out. It doesn’t have to be expensive.” Donald says his parents would never pay for something they see as morally wrong, but Nina’s coming from a different background. “My family and I would pay for it,” she says.
Religion and homosexuality don’t always mix, and the teens are almost ambivalent about one of the most common wedding themes. Max has already decided to “leave it up to the other guy. Most of the preachers I’ve know aren’t really down with the whole idea, and I’m not very religious.” Nina, too, is not particularly religious, but adds, “Our families are, and it would be nice to go by the book.” Donald’s not opposed to religious elements provided the wedding “is outside of a church.”
The big question for teens is why they believe they should even be allowed to get married and have a wedding. Nina says that “it’s all about getting out of the closet and just painting the town red. I want to share and inform everyone about the happiest day of my life.”
Says Max, “Straight couples are no better than gay couples, so why shouldn’t we be able to show our love and affection just the same?”
Donald sums it up succinctly: “If you don’t believe in gay marriage, don’t get one.”
No wedding discussion would be complete without details on the honeymoon fantasy, and all three students have considered it. Donald wants to go to Europe, Nina is thinking about Costa Rica, and Max would like to hit the Florida Keys…the same place his parents went. “They went to a hotel and it turned out to be a gay spot—they were the only ones there.” Sums up Max, “That would be a great place to go.”
A GayWeddings.com reader wrote to the editor, asking about program names for a same-sex civil ceremony. She didn’t know if “Best Woman” was okay, or if there was another, more appropriate way to list people on the program.
First off, you should use whatever names you are comfortable with. If you’re concerned about the wedding party, ask them how they would like to be identified.
Adds the Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway, wedding officiant and author of Your Interfaith Wedding: A Guide to Blending Faiths, Cultures, and Personal Values Into One Beautiful Wedding Ceremony, “'Best woman’ is fine. Or you can call all members of the bridal party “Bridal Attendant” or “attendant.”
David Toussaint is the author of the Gay Couple's Guide to Wedding Planning, Gay and Lesbian Weddings: Planning the Perfect Same-Sex Ceremony, and TOUSSAINT!.