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Real Couples Real Weddings “I Can Fly,” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Vocalists Beth, Jennifer, Kristen, and Stephanie Ehlers sang “Somewhere.”

standing alongside the grooms were Dean’s nieces, Lynne Utterback and Deb Baker, and Gary’s son, Adden Swenson, Gary’s youngest brother, Mark Swenson and his husband Craig Coburn, and Gary’s nephew, Aaron Swenson. As the narrators spoke, The Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus, directed by Dr. Stan Hill, accompanied by Timothy De Prey, performed songs related to Dean and Gary’s story. “Once I Had a Secret Love,” they sang. Also intertwined within the story were the songs “If You Only Knew,” “We Kiss in a Shadow,”

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Also interspersed were the narrators’ readings of several significant pieces including Edmund O’Neill’s classic work, “Marriage Joins Two People In The Circle Of Its Love.” But in addition to being informative and inspiring, Dean and Gary’s wedding was also designed to be very personal. “Our vows this time,” Dean says, “were more secular than the Holy Union Ceremony, but were written by us to be extremely personal and meaningful for us.” It was personal to them on another level

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too: the inclusion of Reverend Mel White, internationally known author and founder of Soulforce, an organization focused on obtaining freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the use of nonviolent resistance. The choice to have Rev. White officiate at their wedding stemmed from Dean’s appreciation for Rev. White’s book, Stranger At The Gate - To be Gay and Christian in America, which Dean says enabled him to “come out” and live life honestly and authentically. Dean then served as Director of Logistics for Soulforce’s 2007 East Bus Equality Ride, and having struck up a friendship, Rev. White was happy to officiate at the couple’s wedding. After the vows, the ceremony closed with the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus singing the song that had so positively impacted Dean and Gary’s lives several years before. “Walk hand in hand with us,” Dean and Gary invited their guests. Guests grasped each others’ hands as the Chorus sang its signature song.

Volume 4, Issue 2 (Summer/Autumn 2009)  

Heartland in Gay America

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