|Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN|
Tony Award winner Terrence McNally, playwright of Love! Valour! Compassion!, The Ritz, Master Class and Kiss of the Spider Woman.
Getting married to Tom Kirdahy on the banks of the Potomac under a blossoming cherry tree in our nation's capitol was "the pursuit of happiness" defined, personified and finally legalized. It is unquestionably the most important moment of my life. It made the promises of the Constitution come true – promises that seemed impossible to keep to a gay man or woman in the United States I was born into. How could I be happy if I could not live in full protection of the law with the person I love? How could I be proud if our relationship had neither rights nor recognition?
Tom and I were happy before marriage; we are happier after. I think I know why. The vows are powerful. They mean something profound when they are spoken by the person who has chosen to spend the rest of their life with you and you are trembling with happiness as they repeat them to you. "For better and for worse, till death do us part." When it comes your turn, you are breathless at both the gravity and the exhilaration of those familiar words as you repeat them. No wonder it is a ritual that has endured. Is there a more beautiful pronoun than "we"? "We" as Tom and Terrence. "We" as a community of gay men and women – a community that is taking its seat at the table it was so long denied a place at.
Tom and I laugh a lot. We always did. But since we got married, we cry a little bit more than we used to, too. They are happy tears, to be sure, but I think we are also remembering how so many of our community did not live to see such a proud and significant day for themselves. I think we are wishing we could share our happiness retroactively. We will never forget our history and how profoundly shaped it was by AIDS and its relentless devastation. That is a promise. But we can look forward to a future that seems full of hope and healing now. Gay marriage, gay families, gay astronauts, gay everything – all this in one lifetime. I am a happy, happy man. Tom can speak for himself.
What he said.
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