How do gay marriages actually work?

I mean the details. There are certain traditions that all marriages I’ve seen seem to follow, such as the wording of the vows, the order that people enter the church, what each person wears, the throwing of the bouquet/garter to see “who will be next,” etc.

So, for gay couples who are getting married, how do all these things work? I assume they both wear a tux, or both wear a dress, right? What do they say instead of pronouncing them “man and wife”? Are there two “best men”? What exactly is it like?

It’s like whatever the couple wants it to be.

There’s no set order of things, for obvious reasons, so the couple pretty much decides it all for themselves.

You do realize most of that is all ‘fluff’ and has nothing to do with the actual ceremony. Basically all you need is someone authorized to do the ceremony ask if both people which to marry and a pronouncement.

Does not seem hard to modify.

First off, just to be pedantic, you’re talking about weddings, not marriages.

Secondly, all those traditions you mentioned aren’t quite as widespread among heterosexual couples as you seem to think. Two of my friends were married in a field in Colorado surrounded by a circle of family and friends who each read a portion of the ceremony they had designed together. Colorado does not require an officiant.

My father and stepmother held their wedding ceremony in their dining room with a few family members present. It was a beautiful ceremony adapted from a traditional Korean peasant wedding (My stepmother is first-genration Korean-American) with vows written by my father. The (adult) children who were present participated, but no one officiated. The legal formalities took place seperately some weeks or months later when they signed the marriage licence in a government office with no witness or ceremony.

Different ethnic and religious groups may also have traditional ceremonies that are just as standardized as the ones you’re familiar with, but that differ from it significantly. Quaker, Catholic, traditional Chinese, Jewish, Hindu, Greek, and Mormon weddings are all very different from one another.

One of my best childhood friends was recently united* with her partner in a ceremony at a synogogue outside DC. Each woman wore a simple, tailored pantsuit, but the colors were coordinating, not matching (neither was white or off-white). The ceremony largely followed Jewish tradition, with readings from the Book of Esther, with references to Moses…and Miryam. Several attendants read poems.

One of the beauties of a same-sex ceremony is that there’s much less pressure to follow a particular tradition. That leads to good (the pantsuits worked really well) and bad (one of the readings was of an Indigo Girls song, which provided much snark material to the audience). But hey, it’s in the highest heterosexual tradition to have <i> something</i> ghastly at a wedding - the brother-in-law singing “You Light Up My Life,” the great-aunt’s toast that goas on for 15 excruciating minutes; that sort of thing.

Oh, and I say “united” rather than “married” because Maryland doesn’t legally recognize same-sex marriages. Massachusetts does. Vermont allows civil unions that are almost entirely equivalent to marriages; Connecticut and California offer civil unions that aren’t quite as equivalent as Vermont’s, and New York’s…special. Thus far appears to be in the odd position of recognizi ng same-sex marriages performed in jurisdictions where they’re legal (such as Canada or the Netherlands, and possibly Massachusetts, although there’s a complicated wrinkle with MA weddings that I won’t get into here), but not recognizing such marriages if performed within the state.

If you’re Canadian, you could catch episodes of former Kid-in-the-Hall Scott Thompson’s My Fabulous Gay Wedding. The details vary wildly but (of course) fabulously.

I’ve read that it will be available on one of the US GLBT cable channels, but they’re going to re-name it, taking “Gay” and “Fabulous” out of the title. Seems odd that a GLBT channel would feel the need to re-name it, but that’s life in the US, I guess.

Scott Thompson will have a series on the new GLBT channel LOGO called “First Comes Love.” Whether these will be repackaged eps of MFGW or new eps I don’t know.

As to why rename it, perhaps the name is owned by someone who’s not involved with the production. Or maybe LOGO is such a bunch of pussies (as evidenced by their editing movies for content) that they felt the need to have a generic name.

Getting back to the OP, in Canada the legal requirements for a civil marriage are quite simple. Taking Ontario as an example, since it’s likely had the greatest number of same-sex marriages, the Marriage Act provides for civil marriage in s. 24. The key provision is s. 24(3), which reads:

As well, s. 25 provides:

So, as long as the ceremony complies with these requirements, looks like the couple can pretty much design their own wedding.

They’re calling it “My Wedding” ?

How boring.

New York’s stance is logical given the circumstances. The only rulings on the subject with statewide precedent status are those by the state’s Attorney General. He is not legally able to override the legislated statute, which at present is construed to permit only opposite-sex marriages. (Without referencing the language, I seem to recall that it references “the man” and “the woman.”) He is, however, subject to a Supreme Court (i.e., equivalent to “Superior Court” elsewhere) or higher judicial ruling on the subject, the final authority on what the state will recognize as valid, and in that capacity, he’s prepared to give full faith and credit to such marriages conducted elsewhere.

In other words, he’s doing his job in what I consider the right way. The Mayor of New Paltz claims authority to officiate at same-sex marriages? No way, says the AG; he has no authority to do so. A same-sex couple married in Massachusetts or civilly united in Vermont moves to New York? Sure, they’re married; the Constitution says that New York must give FF&C to MA/VT official actions, and DOMA does not in his mind require him to override that Constitutional imperative.

After posting, I realized this sentence was so totally unclear as to be pointless. The idea is:

Court decisions by the state Supreme Court and the two higher courts are the only sources of statewide judicial precedent. So far, they haven’t ruled on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage on State or Federal constitutional grounds. (I think there was a Supreme Court decision relative to the New Paltz actions, dealing strictly with statute law.)

In the absence of such decision, the only person capable of establishing statewide precedent is the Attorney General in his formal and informal opinions. He’s not capable of overturning statute; that’s a court’s job, on constitutional grounds. And the construction of the New York marriage statute contemplates only opposite-sex marriages.

However, he is capable of deciding what the state’s administrative bureaucracy will do in dealing with same-sex marriages and equivalents legally contracted in jurisdictions where they are valid. And he said that New York will recognize them.