When we got married, Andy and I did so out of rather selfish, non-heroic reasons: we loved one another and wanted to commit to each other under a sacred bond, and the blessings of family and friends. We just wanted to formally declare our love and create an official legal partnership. We had no social agenda or political motivation, so the idea of our union paving the way for gay marriage equality never really crossed our minds.
It wasn’t until we were opening the cards and gifts from friends and family that the greater extent and meaning of what we had done came to full realization. We were two gay men who had dared to marry each other, when it’s not even legal in our home state or most of our country, and then celebrate our union in front of 200 people – doctors, lawyers, police officers, co-workers, a Congressman, and family and friends from across the continent. A few of the letters expressed thanks for furthering marriage equality, something neither Andy nor myself thought much about prior to this.
It was an elegantly-framed poem written by a friend that may have affected us the most. To begin with, anyone who can write a poem is pretty impressive for that reason alone. I’ve always found poetry to be one of the most difficult forms of writing to accomplish well. (Somehow I squeaked through with a ‘B’ in the sole poetry course I took at Brandeis, and that was just analyzing poems by others, not writing anything ourselves. Good thing, because, to put it simply and unpoetically, I suck at it.)
Someone who doesn’t suck at it is our friend Skip Montross, who turns out to be the pretty damn good poet who penned the poem for us. That it was written by a straight guy moved us both – that it was from great friends like Skip and Sherri was even more touching. I knew Skip was a good guy – I didn’t know how good until we read this:
“His and His Towels”
By Skip Montross
We searched both high and low,
For the perfect gift to give.
Something that you’d remember,
For as long as you both shall live.
But they don’t make his and his towels you see,
What you’re doing is kind of new.
Sadly the world isn’t there yet,
They’ve not caught up to you.
Some people are convinced,
That theirs is the only way.
They say marriage is not the right of every man,
Especially those who are gay.
But yet you’re both defiant,
And your love you do not hide.
Brave and boastful you share it,
Full of both beauty and of pride.
Those of us who’ve known you,
Through your long and storied past.
Know that yours is the truest of loves,
The kind to ever last.
And as you drink and dance and laugh,
Take a look at your gathered friends,
For in the face of arrogant ignorance,
They stand with you till’ the end.
But worry not of that this night,
Just bask in joy and glory.
For tonight we choose to celebrate,
The “Andy and Alan” story.
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