Partners Task Force for Gay & Lesbian Couples
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So You Want to Have a Wedding?
by Demian
© October 2005, Demian

Legal marriage for same-sex couples is available only in a limited number of countries.

Throughout most of the world, same-sex couples are denied the freedom to legally marry. While a growing number of countries offer a registration or other legal status, nothing comes close to providing the same range of protections, responsibilities, and benefits that are triggered by a civil marriage license.

The U.S. government and 37 U.S. states have made laws specifically stating that they would not recognize a legal marriage license obtained by same-sex couples.

See this first, for the primary articles to read on legal marriage:
Key Marriage Articles

Ceremonial marriage is possible almost everywhere.

Weddings can provide a social setting and support for your relationship. They can signal to your friends and relations that your relationship is more serious than just being “roommates.”

Same-sex ceremonies are not illegal. It is the marriage license — along with all the several hundred rights and responsibilities — that is denied to same-sex couples.

If you are looking for a religion-based ceremony, and attend a church or temple, ask where you worship about their policies. If they do not offer ceremonies for same-sex couples, ask for affiliates in other locations that do.

If you do not attend a church or temple, please ask yourself why you want a ceremony these institutions offer.

For those of you who have religious affiliations, talk to your priest, rabbi or congregational leader about your desire to have a wedding. Many religions and officiators ask you to go through an assessment period to determine suitability for marriage, which could take weeks or months.

Some congregations offer ceremonies for same-sex couples only if they are called “unions” or the like, and not called “marriages” or “weddings.” Some offer them only if they are not publicized.

If your congregation refuses to offer weddings for same-sex couples, no matter what they are called, then consider going to another congregation.

Partners Task Force lists individual U.S. congregations, that have contacted us, which are willing to perform same-sex ceremonies. They may be found in our article:
Individual U.S. Congregations Offering Ceremonies for Same-Sex Couples

We would also suggest contacting churches such as MCC, Quaker and Unitarian to locate others. You can also locate congregations through local gay newspapers and the national guide, the GayYellow Pages.

If you do not have a religious affiliation, you will be able to completely design your own wedding.

It is useful to ask someone to officiate at your wedding. They could be your lawyer, a relative or best friend.

You could hold the wedding anywhere you want, such as a banquet hall, a forest, a mountain top, a shrine to Elvis. (We know a loving female couple who have done Elvis, several times.)

Regardless of what kind of ceremony you prefer, your family needs to be legally protected by wills, powers of attorney, physician’s directives, and relationship agreements. These are the barest of supports, until legal marriage is available.

For what to do until legal marriage becomes available to all citizens, please see our article:
Legal Precautions to Protect Your Relationship.

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