My Gay Best Friend Inspired My Support for Marriage Equality
By Maryann Cummings
Maryann Cummings on her wedding day with her best friend, James (far left)
I am a heterosexual woman, and I have been a longtime, passionate supporter of the LGBT community. Some of the funniest, kindest people I have met throughout my life have been gay. I believe knowing gay people on a personal level is the key to ending discrimination. My opinion is that people who don’t support marriage equality are like puzzle’s missing pieces. I simply cannot comprehend any reason to deny two people who love each other the ability to commit their lives to each other.
My best friend James is my inspiration. We’ve known each other since high school but became close in college. He’s always been able to make me laugh until I’m crying and peeing in my pants. He opened my eyes to the realities, struggles, ups and downs and sometimes heartbreak that comes with being gay. It was in knowing and loving him that I was able to come to my own personal conclusion early on in life that people are born gay. I still remember the night he came out to me and another one of our close friends. It was no secret to me but I still admire him for how much courage that must have taken. His nervousness was visible, but I think once we showed no surprise he was relieved. Nothing was going to change our friendship, if anything his strength to trust in us made our friendship stronger and that much more special. Throughout our 16 years of friendship he has introduced to me to many inspirational gay people. I’m grateful for him and his impact on my life.
I understand that marriage is more than a commitment to the one you love: It’s a contract, it’s access to benefits, it’s a right to everything you both bring to the table as a couple. I expect my government to support nothing less than equal treatment for everyone, especially the ones I love.
I recently got married last October. My husband Brian is the best thing to ever happen to me and I’m reminded everyday how lucky I am. Our wedding was the best day of my life. James served as one of our ushers. I originally requested him to be one of my brides-men, but he felt more comfortable not standing out at the alter. I respected his worry about taking the attention away from me as the bride by sticking out as the “token gay” guy at our wedding so we agreed on him being an usher. I was honored just to have him as part of my wedding party. The day would not have been as special without incorporating him. The memory of him taking his role so seriously that day is a memory I will forever cherish in my heart.
After getting married and settling into married life, my husband and I were on a flight to visit my parents in Florida when I read an ad for an LGBT wedding expo taking place in Chicago. I started researching and found your site. I commend you for putting together such a fabulous, fun resource and know one day soon James will meet the man of his dreams and he will then use your site to plan his own dream wedding and I hope that day I’m standing up by his side when he marries the love of his life.
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