The virgin officiant
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