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March 29, 2004

Posted by Teresa at 01:14 PM *

The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports on a wedding that took place last August. Is this another gay wedding story? It is, but this one’s about someone I know: Andrew Bertke, a Minneapolis conrunner, who has finally gotten to marry his high-school sweetheart Joe Agee. Moreover, they got married at the Toronto Worldcon.

It was a fortuitous thing. They’d already been planning to attend that convention when the news came down that Canada had legalized same-sex marriages.
“We would’ve been married much sooner if we could have in the States, obviously,” Agee said. “We decided not to do the commitment ceremony kind of thing. We were kind of holding out for the real thing, I guess.”

“My parents didn’t have a commitment ceremony. Your parents didn’t have a commitment ceremony,” Bertke said.

“They had a wedding,” Agee said. “And we couldn’t have a wedding. I don’t remember any big political debate, but it was kind of like, well, we’re really just throwing a party. Standing up in front of people and saying we love each other. That’s not really a wedding.”
Joe and Andrew were one of four gay couples who were married at the Worldcon on 28 August 2003, in a ceremony which an unnamed member of the con committee helped them to arrange.

I love the photos. Gay or straight, this is my tribe: two couples in nice suits, one couple in t-shirts, and one couple in matching Jedi robes. And how did this all come off? Same way it always does: they were radiant. (Thanks, Lydy.)

Comments on Awwwwwwwww:
#1 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 03:31 PM:

I had a real kick buying "Congratulations!" cards for Don and Tom, and Janis and her SO after Torcon... ;->

#2 ::: Paul C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 03:35 PM:

Thank you, I thought that was Don... I haven't seen him in years. (or Joe and Andrew for that matter.)

Happy for all of them,
-Paul C.

#3 ::: Sara ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 03:58 PM:

I'm just so happy for them.

#4 ::: dargie ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 04:27 PM:

You reminded me that they're my tribe, too. It's been way too long since I did a SF con. How great for them all. Thanks for posting.

#5 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 05:12 PM:

Apparently one of Don and Tom's friends said "How come you guys waited so long...oh shit." Or words to that effect. They'd been together 20 years, and she just forgot for a moment.

Tom assured me they were charmed by this little error.

#6 ::: Mark Wise ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 05:29 PM:

It takes so little to make two people that happy. Makes one wonder about the character of anyone who would interfere with that happiness, neh?

Sadly, I couldn't witness the Torcon wedding ceremony due to !@#$# flight delays. Luckily, Andrew had those pictures running in a loop on his Powerbook. Ah, technology ...

List me in the "morning coat and top hat" sub-tribe.

#7 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 06:18 PM:

I'm hoping I'm snapping photos at my stepbrother's wedding to his partner someday. I can imagine them in their suits.... *sigh* Since he was the photographer at my wedding, it would be nicely symmetrical (if somewhat unfair to him, as he's a pro photographer and I'm not!).

#8 ::: Bill Humphries ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 07:40 PM:

This weekend I learned that two women from my home town of Garland, Texas (a sleepy suburb of Dallas) were among the folks getting married in San Francisco.

I have to finish looking through my yearbooks, they weren't in my class or the classes behind me, they may have graduated ahead of me.

#9 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 09:13 PM:

Those pictures are lovely:-)

It occurred to me yesterday that I've heard "the sky is falling" gay marriages hysteria before. When the Mixed Marriages Act was about to be abolished in South Africa. Some of the stuff about it being against God and nature, what next, marrying your dog will be legal, our society will be destroyed... it's almost identical to the reaction of some of the God-fearing Afrikaaners who genuinely believed that miscegenation was a deliberate insult to God. I hope this one proves as unstoppable - I'd like to go to the weddings of one or two of my friends who don't currently have that option.

#10 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 11:44 PM:

-- and on my birthday! Ooh, *gooseflesh*

May The Force be with you all :)

#11 ::: vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 11:51 PM:

Those whom [God] hath joined together let no [man] put asunder.

#12 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 11:56 PM:

Julia, it's exactly the same language anti-miscegenationists used here, too.

#13 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 09:42 AM:

Jedi are supposed to be celibate, aren't they?

This is a crime against The Force! The Senate needs to pass a special No-Jedi-Sex amendment!

#14 ::: MD ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 06:01 PM:

I feel like doing some research for the other side. Can someone please list the elements that make up the inevitable breakdown of society that will result from legalizing gay marriage in the United States? Please also provide an estimated time of arrival for each further descent into perversity. It doesn't have to be too detailed; "6-18 months later: person attempts to marry dog" would be fine. Once I have the timeline, I'll double-check it against the actual results in Toronto and report if the apocalypse is, in fact, on schedule.

#15 ::: Grumpy ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 10:00 PM:

"... We were kind of holding out for the real thing, I guess.”
“My parents didn’t have a commitment ceremony. Your parents didn’t have a commitment ceremony,” Bertke said.
“They had a wedding ...”

Well if you want to bring my parents into it, they went on to procreate too - match that :-)

I think it's right that gay couples should be able to have the same status as hetero couples. I think the same rights should also extend to platonic couples - my two maiden aunts lived their whole lives together but when one died the survivor didn't have the same property rights over joint assets as a husband would have had.

#16 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 10:20 PM:

It is, indeed, the exact language and the exact arguments those supporting miscegenation laws used. I forwarded a few friends the dissent of Perez v. Sharp, the California case that overturned such laws in the state, and you can simply cut and paste the reasoning. State right to regulate marriage, it's always been this way, God sez so, blah blah blah.

#17 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 11:18 PM:

Well if you want to bring my parents into it, they went on to procreate too - match that

Did they? Are you sure? :-)

Seriously, birth technology will make that possible, too. While I never formally joined the Clone Rights United Front (what a 60s sounding name, eh?), I was on their mailing list for a while...their main argument was that cloning would "break the heterosexual monopoly on reproduction."

I would have liked to try raising a clone of me. Someone said "I haven't heard any reason for cloning that respects the individuality of the child thus produced," to which I replied "have you heard any reason for having children that respects hir individuality?" While I'd prefer mixing my genes with those of someone I'm in love with, that technology is probably further down the road than cloning.

#18 ::: colleen @ del rey ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2004, 06:26 PM:

Some of you might be interested in this story from my friend Kathleen & her partner Karen, who recently got married in San Francisco. Kathleen sent me a enormously long and very touching email about her experience, which I got permission to post on my blog. If you want to read it, her entry is here

#19 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2004, 02:16 AM:

Very nice.

Those I've spoken to regarding homosexuality see gays as promiscuous disease carriers. What I fail to understand, then, is why the same people are moving to bar their attempts at promised, legal monogamy.

Actually, there's a lot I don't understand about the arguments against gay marriage. I honestly don't see why anyone would think it takes away from heterosexual marriage. At all. I completely fail to see why people are so threatened by this.

Can anyone enlighten me?

#20 ::: DM SHERWOOD ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2004, 06:05 AM:

Congratulations. Have happy Lives

#21 ::: Mris ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2004, 07:59 AM:

Alice, aside from the people who think that homosexuality is just a moral wrong no matter what, I think there's a substantial group of people that sees marriage as a very, very fragile thing. They see the divorce rate, and they're afraid that any change to it at all will just cause the whole institution to collapse. I think they don't know what makes a marriage work in the first place, so they're very ginger with it. (And I have to say, I don't think anybody can write out a closed-form solution for what makes every single marriage work. People just vary too much, and that's all right.)

I think they're wrong about its fragility, of course; I think marriage is pretty darn robust, and more importantly I think that marriage-the-concept is composed of millions of marriages-in-specific, none of which will be harmed by having other people married. But I think what we're seeing is a fair amount of pure, straightforward fear of change.

I was reading Will Shetterly's Dogland and thinking about atheists in society, and I think that's part of what made people so threatened by atheism in the early 1960s (and before and since): they don't really know why society hangs together as well as it does, and they're afraid that changing a factor like the rate of folks going to church will cause it to fall apart utterly.

#22 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2004, 08:45 AM:

Mris, you're probably right about that. I think part of the problem is what is intuitive vs. counterintuitive - I generally use a horseback riding analogy: it may seem intuitively safer to hunch over and grip with arms and legs, but sitting up straight doesn't just look better, it works better.

Likewise, if marriage is threatened, it may seem intuitive to some to build a wall about it in order to "protect" it. For some reason, throwing the doors wide and admitting more marriages seems less safe to them than making it increasingly exclusive. I use the word "increasingly" very consciously - one of the main arguments the conservative "defenders" of marriage use is, "marriage is for procreation." Well, then - all of us married folk who have made a conscious, thoughtful decision not to have kids must not have real marriages.

Does anyone have the statistics on childless married couples in the US? How many "traditional" marriages would become invalidated if we took this silly argument to it's logical conclusion? Likewise, does adoption validate the marriage of a couple who cannot otherwise have kids? By that line of reasoning, my friend Jonathan and his partner (adoptive dads of two daughters) have a much more valid marriage than my husband and I do.

#23 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2004, 02:18 PM:

That makes sense, Mris.

Despite the number of other children I spent time with whose parents were separated, I never saw marriage as a fragile thing. Anyone studying couples for a 'successful marriage' formula would get to my parents and chuck all their previous research. Because my parents defy all those rules, yet they're still together, and very much in love. Hard for anyone outside the family to tell, but it's there.

So my view towards marriage has been that it's a method for 2 people who love each other to be joined, legally, financially, spatially. And tax breaks come in there somewhere.

So I've never felt a need to deny that to any 2 people who love one another.

And, tossing the religious equation in, the God I learned about in Sunday school loved all of His creations. He wanted them to love one another, too. It never seemed right to me that God would restrict love.

#24 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2004, 04:48 PM:

Alice -

Eloquent, simple and to the point. Thank you.

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