My brother is getting hitched this weekend. Married. Civil unionized? I don't know what the official term is for same-sex unions in Germany. Whatever it is, it's a long time coming. My brother and his partner (whom I consider my adopted brother) have been together for more than 30 years now.
I think they have the average straight American marriage beaten by a mile at this point. And I couldn't be happier for them. These are two great guys. Two really wonderful men. If anyone in our family needs help - material, emotional, financial - they are the first people in line to offer assistance. They remember every birthday, every anniversary. They are forgiving and kind and utterly generous. The support and encouragement they have given me in the past couple of years is beyond measure.
I really regret that I won't be there this weekend. I'd love to see them have this moment, long denied, pointlessly, unfairly, unjustly. What a triumph for them to be able to do something that so many others take for granted. What they have waited decades to do, average Janes and Joes do every day, without a second thought. And average Janes and Joes undo every day, too.
So many opponents of gay unions talk about the "sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman." Sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, my ass. If straight marriage really was such a holy estate these days, it wouldn't be something that could be done drunk in Vegas and then be put asunder with fillable PDFs, a flick of a pen, and a modest filing fee. Just ask Britney Spears and her first husband.
Marriage is supposed to be a partnership. A commitment. An expression of love and deep friendship. (I'm starting to sound like an e-Harmony ad.) Why does it matter to some insecure strangers if it's between a man and a woman or a man and a man or a woman and a woman? It should only matter to those two people, bonded by something powerful and beautiful and, may I add - speaking as a single person, something enviably wonderful.
I could use this space to ponder and growl about why there is so much hatred and bigotry and ignorance and stupidity in the world - much of it here in our "Christian" nation - but this isn't the time for that. This is simply a time to say "congratulations" and offer wishes for 30 or 60 or 100 more years of happiness and contentment.
Friday will bring the matching grey suits and engraved rings. A Bentley to take them to the Rathaus in the center of Frankfurt. A sea of friends who are gathering already in anticipation of the celebration. A feast befitting such a joyous event. And, from this side of the Atlantic, every good thought, every fine wish, and all the love I can send to them.
May we all find such a lasting and true love. May each of us be blessed with a partner as fine as my brother has found. Lucky guys. Very, very lucky guys.