It's starting. With the next presidential election merely 657 days away, we are bound to hear loads about "hot button" issues as candidates work to differentiate themselves from one another. Stem-cell research, the Iraq war, same-sex marriage...the list is long and divisive.
There has never been a question that I am liberal in my views. Hell, with my Hollywood ties, it would be a travesty if I weren't! This weekend, I turned up my moral amp to 11 and went beyond simply having an opinion. I took action.
I want to share this tale to put names to the issue of which we rarely speak. This concern is in every American home, church and school, yet no one has the stones to speak honestly about it! Well, I'm giving this issue a name today. Two names, in fact.
Those names are Darweshi and Ezra.
I've been friends with Darweshi, an African Bush Elephant, and Ezra, a North American Chipmunk for several years. Ezra and I met after a lengthy and exhaustive chase. After two solid hours of running, he caught me and we started chatting over coffee. We became fast friends. I met Darweshi through Ezra. He introduced Darweshi to me as his "roommate" and, not knowing Ezra was gay, I took it for face value.
A few months ago, they approached me, asking that I officiate at their wedding. Aside from the shock I felt that they were gay (apparently my gaydar has been on the fritz for some time), I was thrilled to comply. Little did I realize the drama that would surround their union.
They are a same-sex, inter-faith, multi-cultural, inter-species couple.
As the wedding plans developed, the desperate phone calls began. Ezra called in tears, begging me to call his parents to reason with them, as they were refusing to attend the ceremony. Darweshi asked that I help him resolve a heated battle with his employer regarding the addition of Ezra as a dependant for medical benefits. Ezra started receiving calls from the media, wanting the exclusive on the story of their love. The issues were endless.
When Ezra called, asking me to help him pick out a wedding gown, I was relieved. This was something with which I could really help!
When Darweshi had trouble choosing candelabras and a DJ for the reception, I used my exquisite taste and musical connections to hook him up.
Planning the ceremony to incorporate each one's traditions was a nightmare. Darweshi, an African Catholic, wanted to wear a traditional tribal robe. Ezra, a devout Jew, wanted to have a chupah and demanded they break a glass during the ceremony. Darweshi wanted to lead the congregation in a round of African dances; Ezra, while claiming he had four left feet, reluctantly agreed. To honor Ezra, we decided I would wear a kippah (a.k.a. a yarmulke) and for Darweshi, I would don a clerical collar and tribal gown.
With all of the cultural and religious compromises, we lost sight of biggest issues surrounding what was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives!
The day of the wedding arrived. As my limo approached (a transportation demand I made of them), I was met with a crowd of humans, with signs sporting such hateful phrases! One said, "GAY ELEPHANTS SUCK!" Another, "CHIPMUNKS SHOULD STAY WITH THEIR OWN!" Still another, "YOU SHOULDN'T MATE IF YOU CAN'T PROCREATE!"
I have to admit, despite my tenacious and intense approach to volatile situations, I was a bit apprehensive about exiting the limo. Remembering my love for Darweshi and Ezra, I was determined to endure the hate head-on.
As I rushed into the church, I was pelted with dolls resembling aborted babies and anti-euthanasia pamphlets with Terri Shiavo's photo on the front. While concerned I might lose a few fans, I felt so deeply about the issues and my involvement that I was not only willing to endure the harsh criticism, I was eager to spout my own obscenities.
"Kiss my ass!" I screamed. In hindsight, I could have, nay...should have been a bit harsher, but I was nervous.
The ceremony was sweet, although absent parents and several other family members caused a few tears. I have to say Darweshi and Ezra did not focus on what was missing, but the gifts they had. Not only were they making a personal commitment to one another, they were making a very public and strong political statement.
Dodging the paparazzi and news media, we all headed to the reception hall for some tasty grub and mad dancing.
I learned a lot that day. I learned how important it is to follow your heart. I learned how critical it is to your spirit to be true to your beliefs and stand up to the opposition. I learned how ineffective it is to confuse your picketing issues by tossing babies and euthanasia pamphlets when protesting an anti-same-sex, inter-faith, multi-cultural, inter-species wedding; prioritizing your hate is important.
I also learned that, gay or straight, "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang is the backbone of any reception.