With the recent ban on same sex marriage in the South and the president’s interview about Gay marriage, I have been taken back this week to Luna Island a few weeks before Kitty and Cheryle’s Wedding. I was doing a walk-through of the day and evening events with Kitty between the roar of the American and Canadian Falls. We walked discussing logistics of the potential crowd, timing the candlelight procession, as we dodged a summer throng of international tourists. We finally traversed the final steps to Luna Island where the final legal vows would be proclaimed. I remember a weird break in time, when the sound of the falls, the din of tourists, all the numbers, the committees, the park rules and planning suddenly was gone and the gravity of what was happening rushed in. For me this was new, for Kitty and Cheryle who had been directly part of the equality process maybe it was not. I looked at Kitty with tears in my eyes and we hugged, I didn’t have to explain why, she got it.
So now nearly ten months and three seasons later, I am proud to be part of the LGBT committee for Buffalo Niagara Tourism (Visit Buffalo Niagara). We are being made to feel vital in the discussions about the potential and growth of the economy in the region. Months ago their same sex marriage welcoming page had generated nearly 700,000 hits. My guess is that number has grown since our last meeting. I have also been invited to seminars on Canadian tourism and today an awards luncheon touting leaders in tourism for Western New York… the bottom line? There is an awakening in this "City of Good Neighbors" as more and more people become aware of what an awesome region this is (ie: I was just informed that we have the largest Garden Walk style event of city gardens in the country.) Its just a great manageable region to get married: hotels, marriage venues, arts and culture, shopping, food, music and its friendly and we are ready.
What is to be said today? I am saddened by the vote in North Carolina; I am pleased with the voicings of President Obama. If you can’t get married in your state... come on up here. We are ready to make your day special in a special town in a special state that believes love, romance and commitment is not exclusive.
So now...here we are, that first wedding is past -- and the huge wave of "let's do it now!" is over too. There seems to be time to breath for a minute. That second wave of same sex couples in love are sitting at a kitchen table or maybe on a front porch, trying to make decisions about what, where and when their special day is going to be. Since the vote in New York State, i have been pondering the big question: What is a gay wedding like? Do we copy the traditions of our parents? Do two woman have separate wedding showers? Do we have two same-sex cake toppers or does a same-sex wedding cake make a statement in a different way. Do both brides wear white? Is the stag party now visited by a reluctant Chippendale in a g string? How does the couple share the first bite of cake? Separate sides for the bride and bride? Do we keep the drunken "Alley Cat" and "Chicken Dance?" We have all seen it done poorly, sometimes with lasting repercussions. As a clan who has only been allowed, until recently, to be merely observers of weddings... maybe we can make the whole thing new and beautiful in a different way. What do you think?
David Butler is the owner of Pro Creation, a company based in Buffalo NY specializing in the