I just found out that a Korean cousine of mine is getting married this August. She's out in Texas, and while I'd love to attend the wedding, I'm already committed to a different wedding this coming October... because MY BROTHER SEAN IS GETTING MARRIED!
This is also the moment when I inform you, Dear Reader, that Sean is gay, and that he'll be marrying his beau Jeff, who came to Korea with Sean last August when they were on their whirlwind Asia tour (photos here). I don't feel awkward telling you any of this, but Sean himself has been circumspect, for a long while, about allowing me to make such an announcement on the blog. He worries—not without justification—that a public revelation of his sexuality might damage his music career, especially since a large proportion of his income is from Korean families in northern Virginia, and Korean attitudes toward homosexuals aren't exactly the most enlightened. On that note, I've been tasked with breaking the news about Sean to our Korean relatives here. I haven't had the chance to talk in depth with them yet, and this isn't something I'm going to do via text message. Still, I do wonder how the relatives are going to react once I've outed Sean to them. It's not going to be the most positive thing, I fear.
Anyway, Sean's upcoming wedding is happy news to me. The date has been set for October 17, two days after Sean's birthday on the 15th. My Golden Goose boss has already generously said I could have that whole week off (vacations will be at a premium for me once I become a corporate drone: no more four-months-a-year holidays for ol' Kevin!), and this is important because Sean and Jeff have asked me, perhaps in my capacity as church elder, to act as the officiant for the wedding.* Strangely enough, the wedding is to take place in West Virginia. At a guess, most of you are probably thinking the same thing: isn't West Virginia one of the most gay-unfriendly states in the Union? I don't blame you. That's what I thought, too. Turns out, though, that West Virginia has sanctioned gay marriage for years. So, yes: yours truly will be donning a hanbok and saying ritual words in front of a happy crowd as two families are united through Sean and Jeff's public commitment.
And now you understand why I've been so vocal a supporter of gay marriage: it's a very personal matter for me. I've hinted at my personal involvement in the past, noting that "someone close to me" or "someone I love" is gay. Now you know whom I've been talking about. I'm very protective of my brother; I don't want anything bad to happen to him, and I want him to be free to enjoy the rights and privileges that heterosexuals take for granted. This is why I take a dim view of the "let the states decide" crowd: they're advocating for the slower solution, and while the legality or illegality of gay marriage was working itself out in a patchwork manner, my brother would have to travel the United States knowing that he was legally married in some states and officially unmarried in others. That's a weird and stupid sort of limbo to experience, and not consistent with my wanting the best for my little brother. It makes far more sense for the right to marry to be bestowed upon all, everywhere, at the same time, so I applaud the Supreme Court's June 26 decision to legalize gay marriage. There will be much whining and moaning from social conservatives about this as they complain about perceived judicial tyranny, but the fact of the matter is that, no matter how gay marriage had come to be the law of the land, there would always have been such moaning and groaning—there would always have have been this or that reason for not allowing it, and for thinking that it somehow erodes the nation further. Utter nonsense.
So that's the big announcement: my other little brother is getting married this October, and I'm the officiant. I wish peace, joy, and happiness to my cousin Jihae, my brother Sean, and my soon-to-be brother-in-law Jeff. I hope they all lead great, fulfilling lives.
*In the Presbyterian Church, USA, there are two sorts of elders: ruling elders and teaching elders. Teaching elders are more commonly known as pastors or ministers. I'm an ordained ruling elder (which means I have voting power regarding internal church matters), so I don't have the authority, within the church context, to conduct weddings. West Virginia law, however, allows anyone to become an officiant of a wedding, but there is a good bit of paperwork involved. So while my elder status may have something to do with why Sean and Jeff have chosen me, it's ultimately West Virginia law that gives me the authority to step into this honored role. I do so proudly and happily.