Monday, June 29, 2015

marriages

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.


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11 comments:

Surprises Aplenty said...

Congrats to you and your brother! Well, I guess your brother mostly, but still it sounds great!

Kevin Kim said...

Thanks, Brian. Much appreciated.

Elisson said...

Mazal Tov! All the best to Sean and Jeff.

Anyone who has an issue with marriage equality should take the time to read the final paragraph of the SCOTUS decision, in which Kennedy states the case beautifully.

Kevin Kim said...

Thanks, Elisson. I'm sure there will be pictures to share.

Texas Annie said...

Congratulations to Sean and Jeff!

I have never understood the animosity to any kind of marriage myself. Who in their right mind would decry love and commitment?

The Maximum Leader said...

Many congratulations all around. Very exciting news!

(Don't forget there are all those on-line "get-ordained-quick" websites if you need another officiant option.)

John from Daejeon said...

Congrats to both your brother and your soon to be in-law!

This is great news on several fronts, especially as you got time off from the new gig in vacation stingy South Korea, and that you get to officiate before the Presbyterian Church is forecast to cease to exist in 2037 due to rapidly falling membership. For a while, I thought it might take that long, or longer, for the U.S. to get it right with the constitution about "all being equal." We still have a ways to go, but people forget just how far we've actually come in just a couple hundred and nearly forty years on a planet billions of years old.

Kevin Kim said...

Texas Annie,

Thanks for the kind words. I've known about Jeff's proposal to Sean since last August (Jeff proposed to Sean during their Asia trip, while they were in SE Asia), but getting permission from Sean to post about it has been like pulling teeth. Still, this isn't something I could force from Sean—outing him without his permission would have been in extremely poor taste.

Mike,

Ha ha, yes, I might have to look into that. Thanks for the congrats.

John,

Thanks. I don't think it'll matter whether the church disappears by then, as WV law only seems to care whether the officiant is human and not an extraterrestrial.

Could you point me to that forecast, BTW? I'd be curious to read it for myself. Was it specifically in reference to PCUSA, or was it about all stripes of Presbyterianism?

Texas Annie said...

WV may care if you are extraterrestrial, but can you prove you're not a robot?

John (I'm not a robot) said...

Exciting news. Congrats to all.

My gay step daughter texted me after the SC decision and of course she was ecstatic. I told her I was just pleased that we could go back to just calling it plain old marriage again...

John from Daejeon said...

It's not only your church. It seems a lot of off-brand Protestant religions/churches in the U.S. will be going the way of the dinosaurs that many of them don't believe in relatively soon.

On a very positive note though, it looks like all those tatted up and nose jewelry wearing Millennials have at least got it right in their belief about the absurdity of believing in god/gods. Hopefully, in a couple more generations the grand hoax that has polluted and warped the minds (and sucked dry pocketbooks) for millenniums will be no more.

Now, I don't know if you've seen this story of slavery in the tuna and cat food industries out of Southern Asia that are supported by the biggest grocers in the world, but it sure knocked me for a loop this morning as I read this man's, and his family's, harrowing ordeal. Mind-blowing doesn't do this story justice.