The times they are a-changin’
By Jim Bucher
Who woulda thunk it? I’m attending a gay wedding. Yep, a good friend back in high school days has taken the plunge into holy matrimony. As my wife Lauren and I are seated, waiting for the ceremony to begin, my mind wanders… Will they be pronounced husband and husband? Or married dudes? Spousal units? Will one wear a dress?
The nuptials take place here at Westminster Presbyterian, one of many beautiful churches that grace downtown Dayton. Inside is the gigantic pipe organ and Tiffany stained glass window, which is a marvel in itself.
Friends and some family gather for an event that would have been mission impossible just a few short years ago.
“I am just thrilled to see two friends of mine who love each other so much make a commitment before their friends and family and God. I’m so glad I live in a world where two people who love each other regardless of their sexual orientation can get married,” says Tina McPhearson, a longtime friend.
The grooms are my former Dayton Christian School classmate Brian Sharp, who is now a realtor, and partner Mark Anderson, director of business development for Haven Behavioral Hospital. Brian is also chairman of the board at Dayton Playhouse and a former writer here at the Dayton City Paper.
I’m so happy for these two, and the other guests agree.
“I have known Brian for more than 30 years, as he was my first boss in the young men’s department at Shillito/Rikes at the Salem Mall. The wedding was beautiful in Westminster with hints of Christmas in the air. The grooms wore Christmas red velvet jackets with black trim that set the holiday and celebration tone for the evening. I am so happy for them and I believe that love always wins. I wish them many happy years together!” says Michael R. Roediger, director and CEO of the Dayton Art Institute.
This world can be such an unhappy place, so why can’t we spend our lives with the person we love regardless of sex? And receive the same rights and benefits a heterosexual couple does? Seems like a win-win to me.
“It’s nice to know that, finally, in the eyes of the law—and of our church—we are married just like any other couple. Our love can be recognized,” Brian says.
It was cool to experience this wonderful celebration with so many friends, including my current boss and Brian’s former Dayton City Paper publisher Paul Noah.
“I know Brian Sharp well enough to know he felt beautiful walking down the aisle with his husband-to-be, whom I’m confident felt the same. How could they not? Though the entire scene, exquisitely decorated within the magnificence of Westminster Presbyterian Church, was beautiful, the musicians, singers, and officiators made the event itself magnificent,” Paul says.
Simply poetic, Paul!
A really cool thing was the inclusion of Brian and Mark’s other family, the Thomas gang, owners of a local restaurant landmark.
“I have known and respected Brian for a long time. Being a part of their wedding was great because I knew that they took their vows seriously. They are committed to each other and had the ceremony to celebrate their life together before God. It was a very classy wedding and religious too. Knowing Brian and Mark well, I couldn’t imagine either one of them being satisfied if they weren’t able to get married in their church before God,” says Stacy Frangomichalos, friend and co-owner of the Golden Nugget Pancake House.
Her sister agrees.
“I was very honored to be a part of this beautiful celebration. Brian and Mark wanted to share their commitment to each other and God before their closest, dearest friends. Love always wins, doesn’t discriminate. They followed their hearts and that was the true blessing of the evening,” says Stephanie Thomas, friend and co-owner of the iconic Golden Nugget.
New husband Mark Anderson says it best: “It was great to turn around at the front of that church and see faces that love us and were happy for us.”
Let us hope with the new administration we don’t go in reverse and step on the gas. After all, as the creator of Broadway smash Hamilton Lin-Manuel Miranda said at the Tony’s, “Love is love is love is love is love.”
No truer words have ever been spoken. Congratulations to the new husbands and many, many happy years together. As a wag said, “Gay men can now be as miserable as the rest of us.”