Tag Archives: Green Street

Wedding Photos!

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Hey all,

For those of you that followed my journey, again I thank you. As promised, here are the wedding photos. If more come in the days ahead I will make another post but now, enjoy these:

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So I guess this is it…

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When I started this blog, the intention was to capture my thoughts and feelings, critiques and celebrations as I went through the wedding process as a lesbian living in North Carolina.

I am thankful I set a cut off date because I never wanted this blog to drag on forever with occasional posts that never mean much to anyone. Nor did I want it to be purely political. It was about all the different parts of my journey up through last Saturday. So I guess this is it, this will probably be my last post. At least until the wedding pictures come in and I can add a slideshow for folks to see.

I learned a lot on this journey, mostly how to be thankful for the folks who never treated my wedding weekend differently than anyone else’s simply because I was marry a woman: Pastor Kelly and my Green Street family, the folks at all three David’s Bridal stores, the caterers, the jewelers,  my family and friends. I learned that sometimes the world is awful to gay folks, but many times it’s not. I found that for me, the actual process of saying my vows and having other community members bear witness to my permanent relationship with Marianne means more than any piece of legal paperwork ever could.

I love you all, I mean it. I’ll still be around in some form or fashion, but for now this is it. There’s an ending here, but it’s also a beginning for me. I quoted bell hooks on the “About” page of this blog She’s also applicable here:

I still think it’s important for people to have a sharp, ongoing critique of marriage in patriarchal society — because once you marry within a society that remains patriarchal, no matter how alternative you want to be within your unit, there is still a culture outside you that will impose many, many values on you whether you want them to or not.

I’m grateful for all this blog’s readers who stuck with me for the past 11 months, encouraged me both in person and through the blogosphere and gave me a reason to continue each week. I sincerely hope that you all gained as much as I did throughout this process.

Sweetness and Light

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Gettin’ married!

I tried about a million different ways to start this post and describe the wedding weekend extravaganza, but the only two words that keep coming back to me are Sweetness and Light.

Not everything was perfect, but it was perfectly us. From the Friday night Vow and Ring Exchange in gorgeous Miller Park to Saturday’s event at Green Street, everything just fell into place.

Surrounded by family and just the right amount of friends and community members, we pledged our love and affection to one another.

Thanks to Rev. Kelly, we were reminded just how exactly we were blessings to each other and the responsibility we now have toward each other to continue to be those blessings.

There’s a lot more I want to say and I’m sure it will come in the next few days. Right now, I’m still drinking it all in and trying to wring out every last drop of goodness that came from this weekend.

Below are the vows we gave each other, with a little help from  Elis, Friday evening:

I, Marianne, take you, Katie, to be no other than yourself. Loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know; I will respect your integrity and have faith in your abiding love for me, through all our years, and in all that life may bring us.

I, Katie, take you, Marianne,  to be no other than yourself. Loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know; I will respect your integrity and have faith in your abiding love for me, through all our years, and in all that life may bring us.

It is now time for the exchanging of rings.

Marianne, while placing the ring on Katie’s finger, I invite you to repeat after me.

I give you this ring as a token of my love, my faith in our strength together, and my covenant to learn and grow with you.

And Katie, as you place the ring on Marianne’s finger, you may repeat after me.

I give you this ring as a token of my love, my faith in our strength together, and my covenant to learn and grow with you.

Shout out to Green Street UMC!

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Go Green Street

I’ve always known that Green Street is one heck of an amazing place, but now it’s official – Green Street was named “Best LGBT-Affirming Faith Institution in the Triad” for 2012 by Q Notes, a Charlotte, N.C.-based gay and lesbian newspaper.

During the Amendment 1 campaign, Green Street sort of became the go-to place to hold meetings, have events and get support from. Along with other houses of worship in Winston-Salem, we showed the so-called Christians who were actively voting against my rights as a lesbian that not all religious-based institutions feel the same way.

And Green Street did it all without ever catering specifically to the gay community, but by sticking to our 2009 Reconciling Statement which calls us to love everyone:

Green Street United Methodist Church is called to the ministry of the sacred worth of all people. We embrace as a gift the diversity of our neighborhood and the world. We celebrate our human family’s diversity of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, age, faith history, economic status, marital status, physical and mental ability education, and any other difference, real or perceived. We affirm that all people are created in the image of God and as beloved children of God, all are worthy of God’s love and grace. We welcome the full inclusion of all people in the life and ministries of Green Street United Methodist Church as we journey toward reconciliation through Christ. We recognize that there are differences among us, but believe that we can love alike even though we may not think alike. We proclaim this statement of welcome to all who have known the pain of exclusion and discrimination in the church or in society and know that everyone’s participation in our ministries enriches us. We invite all people to join us in our faith journey toward greater love, understanding, and mutual respect.

I am so proud to be a member here and seriously, if you’re looking for a church in Winston no matter who you are, check us out. If you’re curious about some of the work we’re a part of, check my blog here and here.

Seriously…go Green Street!

A Celebration of Blessings for our Committed Relationship

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These were the flowers M gave me for last year’s anniversary – a year to the day we’re getting married.

Our wedding invites and RSVP cards came this weekend.

Once again, we got to highlight the fact that we can’t call what we’re doing a wedding. Because Green Street is a Methodist Church and the UMC doesn’t recognize gay marriage.

When we first ordered our invites, we had to carefully dance around what exactly our ceremony on Saturday is (again). And we finally settled on a Celebration of Blessings for our Committed Relationship

Originally, we sent out our save-the-dates and called it an Act of Civil Disobedience which it was going to be when we were first going to do our ring exchange in front of the church right before the ceremony as a way of highlighting the fact that we’re not equal on so many levels – the church, the state…

But then there was a discussion on how much of the street technically belonged to the church and if having a parking lot vow ceremony technically constituted “using” the church to have a ceremony and would Green Street be in heaps of trouble if someone wanted to pursue it and we didn’t want that and really wasn’t it supposed to be our special day and on and on and on and on and finally M and I made the command decision to say:

Ya know what? Let’s just save everyone trouble and have the ring exchange ceremony the night before at Wake Forest Baptist Church with a small group of people.

Side note: I am thankful that Pastor Kelly and Rev. Angela Yarber are helping us facilitate this double event wedding weekend extravaganza!

So the Act of Civil Disobedience didn’t really apply anymore. That and I think I’m a bit jaded after the loss of Amendment One that I still don’t really want to be an activist right now. Not just because we lost but because Equality N.C. created all these elaborate discussions about how A1 would hurt straight people and we still lost. I wish we had just said that it was about gay marriage – we would have at least lost honestly.

So there it is – A Celebration of Blessings for Our Committed Relationship. With the ring ceremony the night before. It works and it’ll be fine. I just really wish sometimes that the world was different from what it is.

Loving alike but not always thinking alike

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Callie’s having some “adjustment issues.” She’s not always so sure the floor is the best place for her as Lil’ Man might see her.

I’ve missed you all! But, after some major screw-ups by U-Haul and having to wait an extra day for some day labor guys to help us unload the truck, Marianne and I (and Callie) are more or less settled into our new place in Greenville.

At our old place, Callie was the top (and the only) cat around. Here’s she got a new “friend” named Lil’ Man who, currently unbeknownst to her, is the sweetest cat ever. She’s mostly an indoor cat and Lil’ Man comes and goes when he pleases. At this point she hisses when she sees him and he just kind of stares blankly before turning his head and walking away. Luckily he’s got claws, so all it took was one swipe to the nose for Callie to realize that fighting with him would not be a good idea and she should probably just put up with him, because he certainly doesn’t care one way or the other about her. She’s just a new body that’s about his height who’s hanging around. And who wants to share his food bowl.

All this to say, Callie is making an issue out of a non-issue.

Which is also what most of this country seems to be doing in the Chick-Fil-A “controversy.”

To recap: Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy says his company supports the biblical definition of marriage and actively gives money to the company’s charity which supports, among other things, marriage-strengthening retreats, Exodus International which is a group who (used to) try to “pray away the gay,” and other anti-LGBT organizations.

To be sure, I don’t support Dan Cathy’s position or the charities to which he donates his corporations profits. Which is why I don’t eat at Chick-Fil-A. And why I try to educate others about why they should think twice about eating there as well.

What I won’t do, however, is violate what Ragen Chastain calls “The Underpants Rule:” what is right for me and my body (life) may not be right for your body (life). It means that while I get to choose what I want, I have no right to tell you what to choose for your life. All I can do is educate you about my experiences and then let you make your life decisions based on the new information you have.

Chastain says that if you are about to say any of the following:

  • People should
  • Everyone ought to
  • What people need to do
  • We should all
  • Nobody should
  • You shouldn’t
  • blah blah things that have to do with underpants that aren’t yours blah blah

you are probably about to break the underpants rule and should probably just not say whatever it is you were about to say.

With that in mind, I want to address a number of my Facebook friends who have recently posted statuses concerning Chick-Fil-A and how folks who eat there should probably just defriend them. While the underpants rule certainly applies to you and you are allowed to do whatever it is you please, I want to offer an alternate option: not defriending people who don’t think like you.

At Green Street, our reconciliation statement includes the phrase “We believe we can love alike even though we don’t think alike,” and that’s true here. By defriending folks who don’t think exactly like you, you lose the opportunity for dialogue. There are some folks who are not open to conversation and maybe they’re a separate issue, but the majority of your friends probably wouldn’t mind having a conversation about why this Chick-Fil-A issue is so important to you.

You also lose out on relationships with people who are funny, or witty, or loving and caring. Some of my family (and high school friends) doesn’t think that what Marianne and I are doing in October will constitute a “real” marriage, but that doesn’t mean that I have to cut all ties and not enjoy their company when I go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Each person must make their own decision here, so as not to violate the underpants rule, but personally, I will not be asking anyone who doesn’t think exactly like me on the issue of marriage equality to defriend me anytime soon on Facebook. With that in mind, I ask that all my blog readers also reconsider their moratorium on all friends who aren’t up to your speed on marriage equality just yet.

Slacking off

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I’ve been slacking off on this blog…please excuse me. We’ve been packed since Sunday evening, but we were out of town Tuesday morning through Wednesday evening (although Marianne is still in Tennessee) to attend her dad’s funeral.

I’ve also been super-scattered because my wedding/event/thing is feeling more like a wedding/event/thing and less like a lesbian, political wedding/event/thing.

Which is fine.

Except that I don’t want to write (and you probably don’t want to read) about the fact that I can’t find wedding shoes or my almost meltdown because my rib cage won’t suddenly shrink and allow me to fit into a size 10 wedding dress and admit that maybe, just maybe David’s Bridal sent me the wrong size dress and I just didn’t suddenly get fat. Must channel my inner Jessica Coyle and her fabulous martial arts plan here!

What I will do, instead, is point you to a fantabulous blog post about What Really Matters.

From the post:

I would love to romanticize marriage as a transformative process, but the truth is, my relationship with Crystal is no stronger or more committed than it was before we were married. It did not signify monogamy for us, nor did it imply I would be popping babies out any time soon or at all. The impact of our marriage was not on our relationship, it was on our family

For the writer (and for me I think), marriage is a way to become understood by our respective families. Marianne and I and most of our friends understand our relationship, but for some folks in our blood-related family who don’t follow us on a daily basis and who aren’t heavily involved in our (or any) activist politics, marriage serves as a way to bridge a cultural (mis)understanding.

Marriage is part of a language they understand – tradition, culture, ritual – and it allowed them to feel included in our very non-traditional lives.

Sometimes, I feel torn between “buying into” the heteronormative marriage idea and raging against it – Cognitive Dissonance – but the post’s author helped me work through some of that.

How do we translate “queer” to our parents? Capture the politics of it, and explain how it deconstructs more than our sexuality? I am still figuring that out, but I don’t feel the need to reject my culture in order to be a radical queer.

Maybe I don’t translate queer.

It’s not that my parents wouldn’t understand it if I sat down and explained it, it’s just that it doesn’t really matter to me if they get it or not. What matters is my mom posting condolences to Marianne after her father died, my dad always asking about Marianne each time he calls, both of them wanting to come visit us in our new house in Greenville.

What matters is that they’re going to be there on the biggest two days (ha! we get two days!) of my life up until this point. And it’s going to be awesome!