When my stepdaughter and her fiancé announced their engagement, there was much joy. In fact, there was double joy. There were two rings to design; two families to meet and merge; two religions to incorporate; and two wedding dresses to purchase. There were two brides - one was Jewish and one was not.
Responses to the announcement were varied. Everyone loved both Kyla and Sarah, but looking at a situation for decades in one way made it hard for some of our now extended family to get their arms around this new paradigm. Some relatives and friends were happy they found each other, but not so happy about them getting married – citing their belief that marriage was between a man and a woman. Interestingly, not one person questioned that Kyla, raised in a household with a grandmother who was a holocaust survivor, chose a non-Jewish spouse. I wonder if it would have been different had her grandparents still been with us. I also wonder if that is an unintended consequence of gay marriage – just as the marriage pool narrows for women as they age (just get married already!), does the marriage pool narrow for Jewish lesbians? (I also wonder if Kyla and Sarah will be horrified to read this, but I digress.)
Mostly, people had questions: Will they both wear dresses? Do they want children? Who will have the children? We hadn’t even gotten to who will break the glass or if there would be a glass, but people were already asking. They also asked us (a lot) how my husband and I felt about them getting married. Was this what we imagined our daughter’s lifetime relationship to look like? Did that matter? It gave us an opportunity to think about our values.
Our family’s core values are supporting each other, spending time together, creating memories, staying healthy and well, devotion to practice, and following our hearts’ desires. Oh, and laughing. A lot. Adding Sarah to our family was completely aligned with our family’s core values, since she also had these values. Well, she might have liked a little less together time, but she took her space when she needed.
Since they could marry in New York State, we were excited to help with the planning. We were going to have our family’s first intermarried, lesbian celebration of marriage and commitment and while we had no idea what it would look like, there are a lot of resources on the web to help (see here, here, and here).
With the support of our friends and family, we were excited to help Kyla and Sarah begin this new chapter in their lives, and ready to embark on the interesting journey of a same-sex intermarried wedding.
(Part II coming soon!)