I had the great fortune to attend the marriage of John and Michael yesterday. Justice Doris Ling-Cohan presided. Here are the vows she said, that give me chills today. I think these are the very best vows possible for a same-sex couple.
Marriage Vows: Performed by Justice Doris Ling-Cohan, Supreme Court, NY County, 60 Center St. Ny NY 10007 – July 24, 2011
We are gathered here today to witness the marriage of ( ) and ( ), and to rejoice.
Long ago the United States Supreme Court “characterized marriage as ‘the most important relatio in line’…and as ‘the foundation of the family and of society’.”
As explaind by the Supreme Court, “marriage is a coming together for better or for worse” and constitutes the most “intimate” of relationshjips, “to the degree of being sacred.”
Thus, the decision of whom, and when to marry is highly personal, involving complex reasons which vary from individual to individual.
Marriage provides an extensive legal structure that honors and protects a couple’s relationship, helps support the family and any children, through an unparalleled array of rights and responsibilities, and privileges a married couple as a single financial and legal unit.
As a society, we recognize that the decision of whether, and whom to marry, is life-transforming.
It is a unique expression of a private bond, and a profound love between a couple, and a life dream shared by many in our culture.
It is also society’s most significant public proclamation of commitment to another person for life.
Within marriage comes, not only legal and financial benefits, but also the supportive community of family and friends who witness and celebrate a couple’s devotion to one another, at the time of their wedding, its celebration and through the anniversaries that follow.
Simply put, marriage is viewed by society as the utmost expression of a couple’s commitment and love.
This couple seeks this ultimate expression through a civil marriage and the making of vows to one another.
In witnessing these vows, we are mindful that there has been a steady evolution of marriage throughout history.
Marriage, as it is understood today, is both a partnership of two loving equals who choose to commit themselves to each other, and a State institution, designed to promote stability for the couple and any children.
We are mindful that, throughout this country’s history, certain people have been denied this fundamental right to follow their hearts and publicly commit to a lifetime partnership with the person of their choosing. Thus, this right conferred on this couple should never be taken lightly. This moment should always be remembered.
We are here to day to celebrate the expression of love ( ) and ( ) have for each other and to give social recognition to their decision to accept each other totally and permanently.
Into this state of marriage these two persons come now to be united.
Please turn to each other and face each other and hold hands
Do you ( ) take ( ) as you lawfully wedded spouse to live together in the state of matrimony? Do you ( ) take ( ) as you lawfully wedded spouse to live together in the state of matrimony?
You may now exchange rings.
Repeat after me: With this Ring, I thee wed. Repeat after me: With this Ring, I thee wed.
Having taken these vows, in the presence of witnesses, it is my privilege and honor to say:
By the power vested in me by the People of the State of New York, I pronounce you a married couple.
You may now kiss!