Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A few days ago, Brian and Chris were married. Same-sex married. Gay-married. Married-married. 

Now, I'm not really one to get all political about stuff, particularly here, but given the current state of affairs in the U.S. (and most other places in the world), this issue was not lost on anyone in attendance. And, though it wasn't my first gay wedding, I can't seem to shake these feelings. Joy mixed with rage.

Brian and Chris married in a non-denominational, non-religious, quite-brief exchange of very lovely vows (See: "In good times, and other times.") under the sweet and warm-hearted guidance of their officiant (a reiki master and "colour therapist") here in our wacky, Socialist town. 

But, you see, they could do precisely anything they wanted and it would be exactly as legal and exactly as beautiful as any other wedding between two human adults on any other third-Saturday in August in any building in this country. Here in the province of Ontario, same-sex marriage has been legal since 2003; federally since 2005. 

After the vows, but before her pronouncement, Mary McCandless stopped. She happily, proudly, and somewhat-urgently reminded us that at the moment Brian and Chris sat down to sign their names to their newly-minted register, they would not only be legally and bindingly married in every sense, they'd also be seen, in the eyes of the government, as a new family in an ever-growing index of Canadian Families. 

I'd never thought of it quite like that. I mean, of course I know what marriage means, legally and otherwise. In fact, in every way except actually, Jeff and I are married and have been for quite some time. In Canada we have rights to one another, to our shared health and well-being and financially, too. Same-sex common-law partnerships are, in no way, different than those long-standing heterosexual ones. I also know what it means to be placed somewhere on a long list of names tucked away in a government building. We pay taxes, we get voter registration cards, and I've come to assume they're always keeping tabs on us. 

But this was different. 

Mary McCandless had me spinning. We live in a place that decided, nearly a decade ago, that love is love, and when two men get married, their names are linked in the annals of our truly exemplary nation. There they can be searched, accounted for, traced through time and across epic patterns of lineage. In 1000 years there will be a file or a folder or a notation on a scrap of very-official paper somewhere that associates these two humans inextricably. 

This past Saturday, two men who love each other became the first two members of a new family; yet another branch extending from those they were born into, and out of which new lives wills someday grow and thrive.

And while I feel happy for my friends and proud to live in a place that so thoroughly respects this simple and age-old notion, I feel angry for the millions of people around the world without the simple right to share a file in a cabinet in the national archives of a federal office in a country they inhabit wholeheartedly. 

When we are cavalier about gay marriage, we are telling people that their names do not count. That their place in history and in record-books and in a burgeoning, global family tree doesn't really matter. 

I am a citizen of a country that holds in high esteem my very existence, for reasons beyond taxes and votes. My country wants to know who I am and how I have decided to build a life. In order to understand its people, it wants to trace not only my income and my data, but my love. I live in a country that honours the greatest contribution I can offer.

When my nephew Jack was 5 years old I asked him what "gay" meant. He replied, without missing a beat, "It's what you and Uncle Jeff are. It just means you love each other." 


  1. Love this. We allow same sex marriage here in Iowa :

  2. Very eloquently put, Mr. Hudson.

    Love is love.

  3. Knocked me flat. I could not imagine such an important sentiment stated more beautifully.

  4. Oh man, Jason Hudson, you have me tearing up at work. This is everything I've been thinking about lately. That quiet rage, that rage that is here joy mixed with rage, has become the background noise to too many lives here in the states.

  5. I really enjoyed reading this post Jason. And this is another reason to make me proud of being Canadian.

  6. This is such a beautiful heartfelt post. Thank you Jason (even though it brought a tear to my eyes), I envy your wonderfully progressive country and live in hope that Australia catches up sooner rather than later.

  7. What can I say? Heart swollen and speechless. Bravo!

  8. Getting choked up at work, thanks a lot Jason.

    Actually, when Kevin and I were married (2 years ago next week), it was important to both of us that we included in our ceremony an excerpt from the 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision that legalized same sex marriage in that state, to serve as a reminder that marriage is still a right that not all people are afforded, and a hope that the tangible and intangible benefits of marriage might soon be extended to all peoples, as promised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    “Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry
    is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition. It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a ‘civil right’. Without the right to choose to marry, one is excluded from the full range of human experience.”

    Despite the initial hesitance of our conservative jewish and catholic families, and even a few last minute panicky MOTG tears moments before we walked down the aisle, I am so happy we didn't give in to pressure to keep things 'sweet and safe' and stood up for an issue that means the world to us.

    Please pass along our best wishes to the happy grooms / new family,

    Lauren (and Kevin)

  9. Dear Jason,

    I'm somewhat in awe of people and places who wholeheartedly accept same sex marriages. I grew up in malaysia, one of the many countries in the world which is regarded as a conservative nation in which homosexuality is frowned upon, sodomy is illegal, and the display of affection between couples (let alone gay couples) in public areas has recently been banned.
    It is lovely for me to see when some communities and countries trying to get it right when it comes to legalizing same sex marriages. I try to remain positive but it is highly unlikely that I'll live to see the day when a country like Malaysia legalizes gay marriage.

  10. That last line just broke the dam on my tears. Here in WA state, we are preparing for a November vote. I never thought of my feelings as rage until now. I just tell myself what will be will be in the end. At least we are trying to change things. The tears I felt here were both joy and rage and that caught me so off guard, but felt completely right. Honest. Thank you for sharing this post with us. Nick and I have been together for 12 years. We are as married as two people can be. Part of me feels that I have all I need, I don't require anyone else to validate my place, but you made me realize that I do. I want it. I need it. For me, for everyone. It's what's missing from our lives. joseph_nw

  11. I've often maintained that the children should be politicians and the politicians should stop behaving like children. Jack is right (as usual). Beautiful prose and photo JJs...damn you for choking me up on a Thursday afternoon.

  12. Canada isn't perfect, but it's pretty damn close and it makes me feel proud and safe. Beautifully put, Jason (and Jack!).

  13. Thank you for this beautiful post. My husband and I were married in Toronto in 2005 on the day you mention. As New Yorkers, we are proud of Canada leading the way. And yes- the last line made me verklempt. Again: beautiful post and congratulations to Brian and Chris.

  14. Beautiful. Congratulations to Brian and Chris.

  15. I like Jack. Well said, both of you.

    I was in my "first gay wedding" this summer. One of my close friends married the love of her life. It was one of the sweetest, most romantic weddings I have ever been too. It breaks my heart that two people so in love would ever be denied that right.

  16. Beautiful! A family is a family. Love is love.

  17. Dear Jeff,

    Strangely enough I happened on your blog through Pinterest. (Crazy, I know.) But this is the page that it brought me to, and I must say I was captivated by your beautiful and moving story. While I am not "gay" myself, (I am actually a child of the 50's ~ Can't get more conservative than that, right? lol!), I have many young wonderful friends who are, and I love them like they are my own children. Each of them has a separate story as far as how their lives have been. They are each talented, funny, caring, and loving, but each of them are also denied the same privilege of marriage that I have. (I live in California, very close to San Francisco, so I'm sure you know the tribulations my friends have been having.) I pray that one day, each of my "children" will have the same loving option that you, your husband and your friends Brian and Chris have. To share their love and life together as one unit, a family, and most of all that their love and commitment counts, just as much as mine or any other married couples counts! Bless you, Jason. And bless your family that raises their children to define a relationship as love and not by gender.

  18. One of the most impassioned, heartfelt, and ROMANTIC pieces of writing on same-sex marriage I've ever read. That is all. Thanks.

  19. darling, you are a hell of a writer. xo

  20. Very nicely said. I have friends and some family members that are part of the gay community. Some are single and some are in long term relationships. We don't see them often and I'm embarrassed to say I don't know if they would want to get married. But if they want to be they SHOULD BE ABLE TO. I also have friends that traveled from North Carolina to Boston to marry. While I'm happy they were able to form a new family I'm saddened they had to leave their home town. Love is Love whos to say someone elses love is wrong....

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