On Friday, I took a little trip to the New York County Clerk’s office to become registered as a marriage officiant in the state of New York.
Let me say that again: I can now legally marry people. Like a mayor. Or a ship’s captain.
Going through the process of becoming a marriage officiant has given me a wonderful look at the state of our marriage laws, and my hours at the clerk’s office were the perfect icing. Let me say just say that the closer you get to the legal process of marriage, the more ridiculous gay marriage opponents appear.
I mean, come on, if I can legally marry people, how “sacred” or “traditional” is the institution of marriage really? Besides, have you looked at some of the man/woman combinations that are getting married these days? I just think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fists at Him and say, “Instead of helping the poor or sick or infirm, we’re all going to eat chicken sandwiches to show that we’ll defend as sacred something that can be done in two hours at the freaking clerk’s office.”
Let’s just say that the number of gay people getting marriage licenses was dwarfed by the number of men standing their with pregnant girlfriends looking like their balls were being held in a vise grip….
First, here’s the proof that I can perform your wedding:
Isn’t that wild?
Here’s what I had to do to get it. First, I had to become an internet minister. That really wasn’t hard. I had to pay some money, sign some forms, and believe in the First Amendment (which I do):
That was expensive.
After I paid the money and received my forms, I had to fill out an online form and give New York State $15. Then I had to go the clerk’s office, present all of my documentation (provided to me by my new “church”), and kill an hour-plus at the clerk’s office.
When my number was called, I went to the counter and signed a huge book (which was kind of cool), and then they gave me the registrant number and a two-page printout on how to marry people, and that was it.
It wasn’t hard. I can now perform the very same ceremony people on the religious right argue is debased by letting gay people join in. Beat that with a stick.
And the “traditional” couples who were there applying for marriage licenses were even more ridiculous. First of all, there were far more already pregnant women getting marriage licenses than there were gay men. So obviously the Christian family values espoused by those who say they are defending marriage haven’t filtered down to all the people banging out of wedlock.
Oh, but at least they aren’t using condoms, so I’m sure Jesus is happy.
Obviously, I’m happy for everybody who thinks they’ve found somebody they want to spend the rest of their lives with — even if many of those people will be divorced in six months and are only getting married under the threat of a shotgun. But what really struck me was how casually some of these couples took their wedding day. I’m looking at you, guy who showed up in an Andy Pettitte jersey and jeans while his pregnant bride was wearing a beautiful wedding dress (white, naturally). I’m looking at you, woman applying for a marriage license who said, “How do I, uhh, void this if it, uhh, doesn’t work out for me?”
I just don’t know how you can spend any amount of time in the marriage wing of the New York County Clerk’s office and come away saying, “If we let gays do this, they’d ruin it.” Who goes home and says, “The gay couple patiently waiting their turn in the corner is insulting to God, but the straight guy wearing the Andy Pettitte jersey is totally cool”? The hypocrisy of the anti-gay marriage movement is stunning when you look at the reality of marriage.
How sacred is traditional marriage? I can now perform them, so not very. Maybe the right wing should get hitched to a values institution that would reject people like me instead of happily accepting me and my $15.