Yesterday (July 12) I presided at a wedding in the Chapel of the University of Rochester. It was just a small company of people, but it felt as much a wedding as any with a crowded church. Gavin Culbertson and Yuefeng Deng vowed to love and care for each other all the days of their life. They are "young 'uns" in their late twenties. What a thrill it was for me to know they have got the kind of start that my generation, and those before, was denied.
There was s special sweetness to this event because of its unplanned timing of being a couple weeks after the striking down of DOMA (or, as I called it at the wedding, "the former law that should not be named"). You see, in their four years together, as their commitment to one another has grown, they have lived under the threat of being separated because Yuefeng is a citizen of China on a visa to go to school here. Under DOMA that separation was virtually inevitable. Now it is not; now they enjoy the right of any married couple to remain a family.
This is exactly what Justice Kennedy was talking about in his opinion. This is why that opinion was and is so very, very important. Justice has been done for Gavin and Yuefeng because their family and the love that holds it together has been given the chance to flourish. What a great story of a great country and its great values when it is at its best (and, I might add, a great Church and its great values as I was allowed to preside at this marriage while Gavin's own parents, both Methodist ministers, were not).