Real Couples Real Weddings by Susan Hart Hellman
Photo: Matthew H. Smith
“Weddings,” “civil “marriages”... “Weddings,” “civil unions,” unions,” “marriages”... The public sometimes flounders at the choice of words to use when describing the celebrations of commitment between same-sex couples. The couples themselves, however, do not have difficulty. At the heart of the matter is Love, any gay or lesbian partner will proclaim, without a moment’s hesitation. Our ceremonies and celebrations may not have a definitive legal name at this time, in this place, but they are as common and as stressful, as unique and as moving, as sacred and as wonderful as any wedding has ever been. In anticipation of the day the state of Iowa would legalize same-gender marriage, Dean Genth and Gary Swenson of Mason City, having had a Holy Union Ceremony in 2004, planned on simply appearing at the courthouse, signing the papers, being wed by a judge, then going on back home. However on April 3, 2009, the day the Iowa Supreme Court struck down the Iowa legal code’s 1998 One Man/One Woman law, Dean and Gary’s expansive list of friends asked to be in on the historic wedding celebration. Gary and Dean realized their ceremony plans would need expanding too, so they began indulging in ideas for a May 31st wedding in Music Man Square, a 1912 River City Streetscape, reminiscent of the movie “The Music Man,” and home to “Music Man” composer Meredith ●● cont’d Willson.
Vol. 4 Issue 2 Summer/Autumn 2009 7
Heartland in Gay America