Wedding Season Reflection Part 1: The Power Vested in Us

This summer was an epic one for weddings. Many people I knew tied the knot this summer (including two of my favorite sex bloggers. Congrats, Jeana and Emily!). My partner and I attended six from May to September, and I thought I would share a few stories and lessons in the next few blog posts that I learned from the half-dozen ceremonies, receptions, and the one crazy carnival I experienced.

Today I would like to contribute a story from one of my favorite wedding moments thus far. I had the pleasure recently of attending the wedding of two of my good friends, Michael and Joe. They had a lovely wedding and a rocking reception, but the part that stuck out the most for me was in the ceremony.  Sadly, my friends can’t legally get married in Michigan. So our friend Sam, the officiant and a consummate showman (we all met doing theatre) inserted the following into their ceremony.

Michael and Joe, no power has been vested in me by any legal or faith-based institution to declare your union “official”. However, given the radiant faces of the over 200 friends and family members who have joined you here on this beautiful spring afternoon – I’m quite positive that being “official” matters very little at this moment in time.

 Because the real power lay with all those who love you, who honor you, and who have joined you here today, I ask you all to stand if you are able and repeat after me.


 This made me think about how the real power in recognizing a marriage comes from the people who accept it – the thing only becomes real when it is observed, noted, and celebrated. To me, this is a much better method for recognizing marriages. Why do we constantly bow to the power of church and state, instead of realizing the power vested in us?

Congratulations, Joe and Michael, and everyone else who got married despite not having the legal right.  We love you, we honor you, and we join you.

Photo thanks to laverrue on Flickr Creative Commons.

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About Craig VanKempen

Craig VanKempen

Craig VanKempen, LLMSW/MPH, is a sex educator and therapist practicing in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area. His professional interests include HIV, polyamory, compulsive sexual behavior, religion and sexuality, and GLBT issues.