Originally, our United States congresswoman, Rep. Jackie Speier, was slated to officiate our wedding. However, due to the ongoing budget crisis in the federal government, the House of Representatives was called back to Washington from their scheduled recess, and Rep. Speier regretfully had to cancel. Our good friends and marriage equality heroes John Lewis and Stuart Gaffney generously agreed to step in as co-officiants. With the personal touch they gave to the ceremony, the symbolism of having one of the couples directly responsible for bringing marriage equality to California back in 2008 in the first place, and the fact that these two men are so very dear to us, we considered ourselves actually quite fortunate to have them be the ones to marry us.
Note: audio begins as Stuart is speaking his second sentence.
JOHN: We are gathered here today with anticipation and love for these two special people, who have come to be joined together in marriage. Jeff and Thom stand before you in love, in trust, and in hope.
STUART: This is a moment of celebration. And I would add a moment of particular celebration because of all that Jeff and Thom have done to make it legally possible for this wedding to take place and for thousands of other people now and millions of other people in the future to be able to marry.
JOHN: Among the many things Jeff and Thom have done is offer their story in a legal brief filed with the United States Supreme Court. In the brief, they described how they met, reading each other’s online blogs and how reading each other’s words evolved into exchanging ideas, which grew into dinner and a concert, which became long-lasting love.
STUART: And they told the U.S. Supreme Court of their aspiration to marry. In Jeff’s words: “As the son of immigrants, I grew up very aware of the search for a better life. My parents left the Philippines knowing there would be difficult changes ahead, but that their lives could change for the better. My mother’s favorite saying is, ‘As I breathe, I hope.’ My hope is that I’ll soon be able to marry the man I love, here in California.”
JOHN: We, as family and friends, are privileged to be gathered here today to witness that hope become a reality. And we are here to participate as well. Not only is today a celebration; it is a dedication. Relationships, like individuals, can be fragile. Every marriage needs the love, nurture, and support of a network of family and friends. On this wedding day, our presence is very important to Jeff and Thom.
STUART: Throughout history, people have discovered no better mode of life than sharing it, together in love, in a lasting and responsible way.
JOHN: This bond seems to meet our deepest human needs for love and companionship, for someone with whom we can share, in an intimate and trusting way, all the hopes and joys and dreams of life.
STUART: Love, in this partnership, makes burdens lighter because you divide them;
JOHN: it makes joys more intense because you share them.
STUART: Love makes you stronger, so that you can be involved with life in ways you might not risk alone.
JOHN: [To Jeff and Thom] We, as your family and friends gathered here, wish for both of you many things. We wish for you a home—not a place of stone and wood, but an island of peace, a place from which you will receive strength and support that stays and carries with you throughout your daily lives.
STUART: We hope that your home encompasses the beauty of nature, and that it has within it the elements of simplicity, creativity, silence, and color, in concordance with your dreams and aspirations.
JOHN: We wish for you a home of books and art, music and dance—a home with all the things which represent the highest ideals and achievements of the human spirit.
STUART: And we wish for you a home filled with the warmth of loving family and friends, the sensibility of good humor and the music of laughter.
JOHN: [To Jeff and Thom] You are now taking into your care and keeping the happiness of the one person in all the world whom you love most. You are adding to your life not only the affection of each other, but also the companionship and comfort of a deep trust. You are agreeing to share strength, responsibility, and genuine friendship—the heart of all real love.
I now invite you to dedicate yourselves to this marriage, through the exchanging of your vows.
JEFF: I, Jeff, take you, Thom, to be my husband and partner. I promise to strive always to consider your needs in addition to my own; to be a source of strength for you, and to accept your strength for myself; to share freely my thoughts and feelings, and to listen fully when you share yours with me; to multiply your joys, and to divide your sorrows. I will keep these solemn promises through the dry seasons and through the rainy seasons, from this moment forward and to the end of our days.
THOM: I, Thom, take you, Jeff, to be my husband and partner. I promise to strive always to consider your needs in addition to my own; to be a source of strength for you, and to accept your strength for myself; to share freely my thoughts and feelings, and to listen fully when you share yours with me; to multiply your joys, and to divide your sorrows. I will keep these solemn promises through the dry seasons and through the rainy seasons, from this moment forward and to the end of our days.
STUART: [To Jeff and Thom] Your wedding rings are important symbols of your relationship together. Made of gold into endless circles, your rings represent the precious, enduring, and infinite quality of your love for each other.
[Stuart hands the rings.]
JEFF: Thom, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment and as a token of the promises I have made today. With this ring, I thee wed.
THOM: Jeff, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment and as a token of the promises I have made today. With this ring, I thee wed.
JOHN: Jeff and Thom, may you be happy – truly happy.
STUART: May the challenges of your life together be met with strength and optimism.
JOHN: May you learn from your failures and grow in your achievements.
STUART: May the human family and the spirit of love be ever a part of your lives, so that the union we celebrate here today is worthy of continued celebration tomorrow and forever.
JOHN: Jeff and Thom, you have promised each other your love, and have given each other rings to wear as a sign of your deep commitment. Therefore, by the power vested in me by the State of California, I pronounce you legally married.
[Jeff and Thom kiss.]
STUART: And now, it is our pleasure to present to you the newly – finally – married couple, Jeff and Thom.
Congratulations! And as they say in the Philippines, mabuhay!