Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ken N Mike’s Civil Union

Note: The links in the post below will take you to some pics from the civil union.
This was our primary reason to visit Connecticut this past weekend and the chance to see Ken who we have known for a few years and meet Mike (who we had never met before but heard about from K). While we have known a few gay folks before this was the first time we attended a civil union. The state of Connecticut passed a law establishing civil unions more than a year ago. I wish more states would let gay and lesbian folks marry and/or have civil unions. I also feel the whole idea of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marraige is silly as well and it is nice to see that it is not going any place due to lack of support.
The union was held in western Connecticut on the banks of the lovely Housatonic river where K & M recently purchased this cute place with a some amount of land to go with it. It really was pretty here and it is nice to be able to live at a place like this. K & M arrived for the ceremony in a horse driven carriage which was really neat. The dress code was not formal (which I always like) and people were dressed comfortably including some in jeans. The weather held up pretty well, despite overnight rains. It was actually breezy, in the 60s a bit cool and sunny. There were about 200 folks which I guess is a sizeable number for a union in this part of the world. The ceremony was held in a tent, before which people assembled in another tent for appetizers which were completely yummy and a huge variety of drinks. I can’t remember all of the finger food but there were California rolls, Chicken Satay, Indian chicken with raita and a host of others. There was also music, which was of classical variety performed by three students from the famous Julliard school in NYC.The ceremony was conducted by a Unitarian minister. I did not know a whole lot about Unitarians and here is the wikipedia entry on them.
The ceremony and what she said was simple, touching and very heartfelt. I can’t recall everything that she said but there were a lot of tears, I felt moved by what she said simple universal truths about love and trust in relationships and the various things that make life with your loved one special. She talked about how to deal with the comforting mundane ness that sets in long term relationships and how it could be used in a positive manner. She spoke eloquently about tolerance as well, since there were a few young people in the audience. I particularly liked this part, as intolerance and hatred are not something people are born with. It is something that they pick up or learn from their peers and parents. Parents play a very important role in shaping these beliefs, and I think a good example was set this day for the next generation of people about tolerance and understanding. K & M took their vows which were nice. They spoke about how they two are so different yet so compatible. K is more steady and cautious while M is quite the character with a rather zany sense of humor. It was interesting to hear K recount the story when K told him that he would like an answer about settling down. On their trips M bought these letters “E”, “S” and “Y”. K could not figure out for a while what they meant but that was the answer delivered to K in the form of a riddle ("Y""E""S"). They had the letters on a table were they took their vows. There was a jazz quartet after the ceremony as we sat down to eat, the woman singing had an amazing voice. I am not sure though how many people were really able to appreciate the music.
I have come a long way, I did not know any openly gay folks in India and my one experience in this regard was not nice. In my teens I was surprised and horrified when on a crowded commuter train in Bombay (the term sardines in a can is apt here) I felt this guy rubbing himself against me. It was not a pleasant experience by any stretch and it was not a casual brush that one encounters in a crowded place. My changing positions in the compartment did not help either I was followed. As someone totally clueless about this, I was repulsed, mortified, scared and angry. I decided to get off the train just as it pulled out of a stop that was not my destination. I looked behind in relief to make sure the sicko had not followed me. I did not mention this to anyone and never forgot about it either.
Sorry about jumping off on a tangent. We were seated with Dan and Cheryl and a couple of other people than Dan knows and it was a good group. I have been to weddings when at times this does not work too well and it can be a tad uncomfortable. Lunch was amazing, starting off with a peach soup that was out of this world and with a 2 course lunch the first of which was a delectable, tender moist roast beef with asparagus shoots cooked just right. The dessert was wedding cake. I have been to a few weddings here and I won’t be off the mark if I said that people don’t exactly go for wedding cake. Most of the times it just looks pretty but does not taste great, But knowing K and the food that we had so far I was fairly sure it would be different,
First of all the cake was not like a traditional cake at all. If you look at the picture the frosting itself said something different. M is a herpetologist among other things and the cake was topped with 2 frogs with crowns on their heads and an assortment of amphibians and reptiles. I had a slice of the cake and I have to quite simply say it was among the best carrot cakes I have ever had. People were lining up for it and by the time we left there were maybe a few dozen pieces left with no one in line looking to get a piece ( or just too embarrassed of being percieved as greedy).
We left shortly after we said our goodbyes, when we returned to the place we were staying and in the evening K n M joined us as we were finishing off our light dinner. They were tired but elated and told us that they had barely been able to eat and that there was no carrot cake left!!! They had a simple dinner and it was just a bunch of friends reminiscing about old times and the day and we got a chance to get to know M a bit more. It’s possible they might visit us in August on their way to D.C.
So that pretty much sums it up. Everything about the day was smooth and as perfect as it can be with nary a note out of place. I wish both of them well with many years together. Their relationship like any other will be subject to the same trials, tribulations, pressures, highs and lows. K has been thru a lot and I wish him joy and good luck. It was nice to see him again and knowing him is something we both treasure.


Keshi said...

haha 2 frogs on the cake ha? Nice idea ;-)

Good one Ken n Mike! May they have a beautiful life 2gether!

I havent attended a civil union yet but hear alot abt em here in u know Sydney is the gay capitol of all times :)


Aditi said...

nice cake.. carrot cake is always yumm
Well good luck to them, any good wedding is a sure fire place for tears.. they make me cry too.. (I can safely say that on your blog)

Dadoji said...

KJ: That was beautiful. It was almost like being present there with all of you. I wish them well.

keshi: Sydney doesn't hold a candle to San Francisco in that department. Trust me.

karmic_jay said...

@keshi. The 2 frogs also had crowns ont heir heads signifying the all male union. I have to agree with Dadoji, San Fran is the gay capital of the world.

@Aditi, feel free at this place to vent cry or anything you prefer. :)

@Dadoji. Thanks. I did not realize it had become such a long post. I left out several bits too.

chandni said...

how nice..

I too wish gay/lesbian marriages would be legal and sccepted all over!!

Have a lot of gay friends...both in India and here in NY, but never attended a civil union...I hope all my friends do eventually fins partners they want to settle down with....

Congratulations to your friends!

karmic_jay said...

@chandni.. thks agree with you.

opinionatedinjerzee said...

wow, this looks like are really interesting post.. i am going to get some things done and read it all.. cant wait to see the pics too!! but just wanted to tell you that i am tagging you!! check out my blog for the details!

nowheregirl said...

here's to K & M... cheers!!

Keshi said...

**Sydney doesn't hold a candle to San Francisco in that department

is it? :) aww mebbe it's SF then...whoaaaa!! ;-)


opinionatedinjerzee said...

wow. the cake looked amazing!! simple and cute.. love those little fern leaves in the bottles of water next to the cake.. so "pottery barn"ish!!!

Sadaf Trimarchi said...

Great post! It looks like the ceremony was beautiful. Ditto on the cake - love the two frogs (they've both met their prince?) Very clever. Congrats to them both. (BTW, I agree, most wedding cakes I've had just look pretty. Give me a simple ice cream cake anytime and I am a happy camper.)

Ameet said...

Jay - you beat me to it! I'm yet to attend a gay wedding ... and I'm gay!!! You know, the whole wedding/catering industry would get such a boost if they allowed more gay unions.