Thursday, May 5, 2016

Cinco de Mayo Marriage

Today is Cinco de Mayo.  How many of us know how this holiday came to be?  The Writer's Almanac web site tells us, "It commemorates the Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. In a David-and-Goliath confrontation, the 8,000-strong, well-armed French army was routed by 4,000 ill-equipped Mexican soldiers, and though it wasn’t a decisive battle in the course of the war, it became a symbol of Mexican pride. It’s also become a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture in the United States."

For many of us, it's just another excuse to drink, like Saint Patrick's Day.  But what if we looked at this holiday with new eyes?  Today, I'll be thinking about how great odds can be overcome.
I don't have many Cinco de Mayo memories, but my favorite one came recently.  My spouse is a notary, and so several people who want to avoid being married by clergy have come to him.  He always offers to help create a ceremony, and so far, no one has said, "Nope--just notarize the documents." 

He helps to create a marriage ceremony that is rooted in faith, and since his faith is Christian, they are ceremonies that reflect his Christian outlook:  marriage as partnership/relationship rooted in love, the love of the couple for each other, the love of God for the couple, the way that love strengthens us for the tasks ahead.

So far, friends are the ones who ask him to officiate, so he has a sense of whether or not they'd want readings from the Bible or from some other source.  He has been asked to do a homily for most of the ceremonies.  So far, there's been no singing, but that could be an option.

Last year on Cinco de Mayo, he officiated at his first same-sex ceremony.  Our friends had decided to seize the opportunity to be married, and they wanted it to be on Cinco de Mayo, since they had had their first date on that day.  Although I don't remember many details, I do remember it as a beautiful service complete with Mexican wedding cookies (which I might call pecan sandies at Christmas time).  And their union is recognized by the state of Florida, a legal opening which had just occurred at the start of the year.

I think back to my younger years, in 1986 when the Supreme Court ruled in Bowers v. Hardwick that the state of Georgia could regulate sex between consenting adults.  I despaired of ever seeing a day when my same sex friends could wed their beloveds.

And here we are 30 years later, and that change has come--a victory that seems similar in scope to the Mexicans defeating the French.  I see it as a victory for love in the face of hate.

I realize that the battle isn't fully won, and that there are still many places, same sex or otherwise, where love still needs to overthrow hate.  But on this Cinco de Mayo, let us celebrate the victories that we have seen with our own eyes.

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