This month’s awesome wedding reading is actually two separate readings (and I guess one is more of a quote!). They come from US court decisions legalising same-sex marriage, and the words are beautiful. One or both of them would be a wonderful addition to any wedding ceremony, because they confirm what we all know: that marriage is important to the people who choose to enter into it.
The first is from 2003’s ground breaking case in Massachusetts, the first US state to legalise same-sex marriage, and was written by Chief Justice Margaret Marshall from the State Supreme Judicial Court.
Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations … Without question, civil marriage enhances the “welfare of the community.” It is a “social institution of the highest importance.”… Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family … Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.
No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. Marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death.