Congressman Barney Frank married his partner, Jim Ready earlier this July. News reports abound with an overview of the nuptials. Most, like the New York Times, reference the details, joy and fun you would find at any wedding:
The ceremony, which began at 6 p.m., took place in a garden outside the hotel’s first floor. Mr. Kerry sat by Ms. Pelosi, the House minority leader, in the first few rows.
Mr. Frank, famous for his tirades, appeared close to tears as his sister, Ann Lewis, walked him down the aisle. He was trailed by a few hired photographers and by Ms. Kucinich, who leapt with joy as the bridegrooms appeared and snapped dozens of photos for an album that she planned to present as a gift to the couple.
“You could see the joy on their faces,” Ms. Kucinich said. She and Mr. Ready had become close friends at Congressional retreats and picnics. “He’s humble, and at the same time, he carries a sense of joy about himself,” she said. (source, New York Times)
But there is another Times paper that has a very different take on the Frank-Ready wedding. Doug Mainwaring has written a scathing editorial about the wedding for The Washington Times. Calling it “An irreverent display, this was a scene from a cheesy comedy movie, skewering the very concept of marriage. No one would mistake this for a solemn moment when two souls are joined together for eternity. Instead, it was an absurd frolic, an [‘]Alice in Wonderland[‘] moment.”
Mr. Mainwaring seems to come to this conclusion because of the vows between the happy couple which were tailored, somewhat, to Frank’s involvement in the political world and Ready’s love of surfing:
”Barney and Jim,” [Gov. Deval] Patrick[,who officiated the ceremony,] began, according to a transcript from Frank’s office, ”do you promise to love each other and be each other’s best friend, in sickness and in health, in Congress or in retirement, whether the surf is up or the surf’s flat, for richer or for poorer, under the Democrats or the Republicans, whether the slopes are powdery or icy, whether the book reviews are good or bad, for better or for worse, on MSNBC or on Fox, for as long as you both shall live?” (source, Metroweekly)
Mainwaring opined that “Mr. Frank’s vows are emblematic of the problem with the same-sex marriage lobby in this country: For them, it’s not about homosexual rights, nor is it about equality, fairness or freedom. It is about the weakening of the two most hallowed structures of civil society – family and faith – which often stand in the way of government making further inroads into our lives.”
I’ve been to many a wedding; all heterosexual, and have heard many a tailored vow and seen many a personal detail of the ceremony that falls outside the standard, basic ‘to have and to hold.’ One wedding that I recently attended had Woody Woodpecker and Frankenstein atop the cake because the bride and groom met while in costume. I hardly see how this or any winking reference to jobs or hobbies somehow weakens “family and faith.” No matter what the details of the ceremony, from themed weddings to locale to vows, the core remains the same; two people are coming together to commit to care for one another for the rest of their lives because of the strong bond that they have already formed. How this bond is celebrated and declared in front of friends, family, and in our world, the government, too, does nothing to minimize the strength of it or anyone else’s union. I defy Mr. Mainwaring to back up his hysteria-filled rant with some actual, proven, legitimate facts vs. his just plain dislike of a particular ceremony.