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  • On April 12, 2014 I had the incredible pleasure of marrying my wife, Michelle. We had been together for over three years at that time and we were more than ready to make a formal, public commitment. Even though our state, North Carolina, wasn't ready for us we got married there anyway. We knew we wanted to get married at our church, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greensboro, and that we wanted our friends and family there. We couldn't get hundreds of people to a state that had marriage equality (or the District of Columbia) so we had our wedding at our church where it mattered most.

    Like most weddings, we planned for months. Many members of our families came from around the country to celebrate our union, even if it wasn't legally recognized. Our minister wrote a beautiful wedding script for us and we included several readings that were meaningful to us, including honoring the work of marriage equality activists who were, and are, working to make marriage equality a reality in the United States.

    This is the wording from the candle lighting: "We will light three candles: The first to honor all the brave souls who risked both their livelihoods and their lives so that we are able to be here today ready in spirit and in practice to declare this marriage equal to all other marriages. The second for Michelle's aunt Paula one of so many precious souls who have already passed on, yet who are now here present. This candle is for the wise and caring ones, who have been important in the lives of both Michelle and Karen. Their light still shines. This second candle is for all the souls, who for various reasons are unable to be here in body, yet whose spirits make love possible. The third candle I light for all those present today who gave of their time and energy, who performed all that was and will be necessary to make this ceremony not just happen, but be a lovely and joyous occasion. May the light of courage and caring flow freely in and among us, and through us to all whom we encounter this day and every day in the service of love."

    This candle lighting set the tone for our intentions towards each other and our community. We could not have asked for both a more joyous and reverent wedding ceremony. Michelle was in charge of getting my bouquet, so it was presented to me as a surprise at the first look. We had been wearing commitment rings for a year and a half. During the ring exchange we took off the "old" ones and replaced them with the new ones. This is the reading from our ring exchange: "Karen and Michelle exchanged rings in 2012. At the time, they did not know where they would end up living. They did not know how the jobs they had then would affect their future. All they knew, was that they were committed to being together, so they wore rings to signify that. The ones they will be exchanging today are different, yet complimentary. They are for today. Now the 'not knowing' becomes the 'stepping out' into the universe anyway. These new rings mean that they are committed no matter what the obstacles are that they may need to overcome."

    Because being with our family and friends was important to us, instead of a rehearsal dinner, we had a taco bar open house the night before for our Wedding Team and out-of-town family and friends. It was great because then everyone got to know each other before the wedding. The night of our wedding we and all our out-of-towners went bowling in our beautiful wedding attire. We had a blast. The morning after, we joined our out-of-town family members for a great southern breakfast at a local restaurant since most of them live in California. They really enjoyed it and we got some more time with our family.

    The day I married Michelle was truly the best day of my life. I have never before been surrounded by so much love. We hold that love in our hearts every day.
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