Well, shut my mouth! (And, as those who know me will say, that’s difficult!) While driving from my home in southern Utah north to Salt Lake City on Friday, December 20th, news started trickling in that Utah had just become the 18th state to approve marriage equality!
Rainbow Flag w rings

At 2 PM friends and family started texting and calling, smiles and tears of happiness flooded my phone. Almost immediately pictures started arriving of friends witnessing friends getting married in the Salt Lake courthouse. The joy was overwhelming. But the fact that this had all happened, during the 4 1/2 hour drive from southern to northern Utah, was taking time to set in. I was certain I heard the voice of Rod Serling announce that we’d just entered the Twilight Zone. But, no, I pinched myself, looked out the window, listened to the voice of Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and realized that I was, in fact, in the state of Utah. As Ms. Maddow said, “Yes, that Utah.”

After the Supreme Court struck down DOMA in June of this year, even though marriage was not equal in our home state of Utah, my partner of 30 years and I decided to finally get married where we’d met, lo, those many years ago, in California, and tied the knot in October... mere weeks before this historic (and shocking) revelation back home. We had often joked that Utah would be the last state in the union to give us the green light, so why wait!? Who knew...

Apparently Judge Shelby. Who didn’t know? Apparently Utah Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee; the first making the recommendation to President Obama that Shelby would be a great judge, the second being a buddy of Shelby. Both of whom (I’m assuming) have swallowed large, uncomfortable lumps in their throats and backed away from what they perceive as a betrayal from Shelby. And all because Judge Shelby simply and correctly interpreted the law to make way for equality.

Friends have asked if we are planning to re-marry here in Utah. The answer, frankly, is no. Our wedding in California was wonderful and, now that our marriage is accepted on a national level (albeit by only 18 individual states), as states “come on board,” as it were, our marriage will be recognized, regardless. There’s no longer a need for us to marry in each state as marriage equality is recognized. As a statement, perhaps, but legally our license in California will always trump any subsequent license and will always be recognized as our official marriage certificate. So, in short, we are already married in Utah.

That’s not to say that we won’t continue to celebrate! As we watch each state in the U.S., and every country around the world accept marriage equality, and as the world continues to realize that marriage equality only helps to strengthen familial and societal foundations, we will celebrate. As the doomsayers are forced to recognize that love will, in fact, not destroy the planet, we will celebrate. Regardless... we will celebrate.

I have been honored to perform weddings for a variety of couples, and always stressed in my ceremonies what I consider to be the most important criteria for marriage; love and respect. Marriage is a complex dance that requires a lifetime of give and take. But there is nothing quite like beautiful choreography to tell the most exquisite stories. And for this particular dance to continue to grow, its roots must be grounded in love and respect. I look forward to joining ever more couples who believe the same.

What a wonderful and amazing gift Utah has given the country to help ring out 2013 and ring in the new year!