Give Up the Gospel
Consider nontraditional wedding readings for your wedding
By Meghan Russell
Ceremony readings for same-sex weddings don’t need to be biblical. Sit down with your fiancé, and create a list of books, songs, poems, plays and movies that you both feel emulate your love and commitment. Be creative—your only limit is your imagination. Here are some ideas, neutral to sexual orientation, to get you brainstorming what might fit best with your wedding:
From “Goodridge v. Department of Health,” by Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall:
Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations. … Without question, civil marriage enhances the “welfare of the community.”
It is a “social institution of the highest importance.” … Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. 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 fulfils 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.
Ancient lesbian poet Sappho’s fragment 48, from Page duBois’ Sappho is Burning:
You came, and I was longing for you; you cooled my heart which was burning with desire.
Emily Dickinson love poems found in The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson, published by Barnes & Noble:
I have no life but this,
To lead it here;
Nor any death, but lest
Dispelled from there;
Nor tie to earths to come,
Nor action new,
Except through this extent,
The realm of you.
Love is anterior to life,
Posterior to death,
Initial of creation, and
The exponent of breath.
An excerpt from “We Two—How Long We Were Fool’d,” by Walt Whitman, believed to be homosexual or bisexual:
…We are two fishes swimming in the sea together;
We are…two resplendent suns — we it is who balance
ourselves, orbic and stellar — we are as two
We are two clouds, forenoons and afternoons, driving
We are seas mingling — we are two of those cheerful
waves, rolling over each other, and interwetting
We are what the atmosphere is, transparent, receptive,
We are snow, rain, cold, darkness — we are each product
and influence of the globe;
We have circled and circled till we have arrived home
again — we two have;
We have voided all but freedom, and all but our own
A very sweet excerpt from “I’ll Cover You,” from Rent:
…Just slip me on, I’ll be your blanket,
Wherever, whatever, I’ll be your coat.
You’ll be my King, and I’ll be your castle
No, you’ll be my Queen, and I’ll be your moat
I think they meant it when they said you can’t buy love
Now I know you can rent it
A new lease you are my love, on life
All my life.
I’ve longed to discover
Something as true as this is.
So with a thousand sweet kisses, I’ll cover you…
A passage from Luce’s monologue in the classic lesbian romantic comedy Imagine Me and You:
I think you know immediately. As soon as your eyes… Then everything that happens from then on just proves that you have been right in that first moment. When you suddenly realize that you were incomplete and now you are whole…
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