The virgin of­fi­ciant

GA Voice - - The Wedding Issue -

Do you re­mem­ber where you were when the Supreme Court ruled same-sex mar­riage was le­gal? It’s not a dif­fi­cult ques­tion to an­swer since it took so long to get to that an­nounce­ment last sum­mer. For me that his­toric mo­ment has led to a dra­matic change in my life that will take place in the next few days.

The rul­ing came while I was in the car on the way to a meet­ing with the At­lanta Com­mu­nity Food Bank. Tears forced me to pull over into a ran­dom park­ing lot in Mid­town and ab­sorb the his­toric mo­ment in the pri­vacy of my car, and caused me with good rea­son to be late and swollen-eyed to my ap­point­ment. It also proved bit­ter­sweet since my re­la­tion­ship with the woman I thought I would marry had se­cretly come to an end months ear­lier. De­spite my per­sonal dis­ap­point­ment, the joy I felt for us as a com­mu­nity and the op­por­tu­ni­ties it of­fered in­spired me to do some­thing to cel­e­brate our vic­tory. If I couldn’t get mar­ried my­self, I was go­ing to marry other cou­ples.

In my ra­dio life, I’ve known more than one per­son­al­ity to go on­line and get ‘or­dained’ so they can of­fi­ci­ate wed­dings as a ra­dio bit. I hon­estly dis­carded it as a joke, some­thing an Elvis im­per­son­ator would do for his Ve­gas act. Re­al­iz­ing I wasn’t go­ing to get mar­ried fol­low­ing the Supreme Court’s de­ci­sion, I knew I still wanted to be part of a wed­ding and be­gan to look into how my col­leagues got or­dained. That’s when I found Univer­sal Life Church, a site re­spon­si­ble for the or­di­na­tion of such celebri­ties as Co­nan O’Brien, Dwayne “The Rock” John­son, and Lady Gaga. I ate my words and crit­i­cism as I filled out the re­quired form and im­me­di­ately gained the abil­ity to pre­side over wed­dings.

My first wed­ding takes place this week­end. A les­bian cou­ple in Pauld­ing County has in­vited me to lead their cer­e­mony Sun­day, and quite frankly they have made it very easy on this virgin of­fi­ciant. Since it’s not ei­ther woman’s first mar­riage, they have writ­ten their own vows and pro­vided me with the run­down of how the cer­e­mony should go. I look for­ward to speak­ing their beau­ti­ful words. My big­gest chal­lenge will be to fight back tears as I say them. That and find­ing the right out­fit, since I don’t have the tra­di­tional robe that you of­ten see re­li­gious lead­ers wear. What does one wear to a wed­ding when you’re stand­ing in front of the crowd?

I hope I ful­fill my re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to these ladies’ sat­is­fac­tion … mean­ing I don’t pass out or cry harder than the cou­ple. To of­fi­ci­ate an LGBT wed­ding as a mem­ber of the LGBT com­mu­nity my­self, as some­one who un­der­stands the strug­gle, sac­ri­fice, and emo­tion that leads these women down the aisle, is such an honor. I hope this is the be­gin­ning of a long-run­ning gig.

Melissa Carter is one of the Morn­ing Show hosts on B98.5. In ad­di­tion, she is a writer for the Huff­in­g­ton Post. She is rec­og­nized as one of the first out ra­dio per­son­al­i­ties in At­lanta and one of the few in the coun­try. Fol­low her on Twit­ter@Melis­saCarter

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