Call Me the Irreverend – The Advocate, 6/30/2004

You’ve all heard my Peggy Lee lip-syncing “Is that all there is?” gay marriage whine. The next sound you’ll hear is me jumping on The Same Sex Marriage Express. I am joining the Gay Marriage Industrial Complex!

Quite frankly I am not going to let another gay wave pass me by. I missed the rainbow tchotchke cash cow. Who knew? I missed the gays on TV bonanza, but so did a lot of other actual gay people. I missed the Gay Cruise treasure chest. This time around, I will not be left at the altar!!

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, and that’s just what I intend to do. Judy Dlugasz, the founder of Olivia Cruises who does shipboard ceremonies – A twofer! She’s brilliant – told me how to get a minister’s license from The Universal Life Church.

The ULC people will e-confer your ministership at no cost but I splurged and for $109.00, plus shipping and handling, I got the deluxe reverend package. In addition to my minister’s license with my name in a very convincing liturgical font, it includes a wedding business training video for ministers, and a revised and very helpful “Ultimate Wedding & Ceremony Workbook” for the planning-impaired.

The hard-bound book with sample ceremonies of weddings, funerals and rites of passage was a bit of a disappointment. The paper is not that onion thin paper of my old Catholic missile days. It’s hardbound, so it doesn’t droop over my folded hands and there’s no sewn-in purple placement ribbon. I might spray paint the page edges with gold.

I am most proud of my wallet sized hologram license and the 6X9 inch orange laminated “Parking – Minister’s Business” placard to display on my dashboard. The fine print says that parking privileges are not recognized in New York City, and that I am not authorized to do circumcisions. Otherwise I am good to go-d.

Like those itinerant priests who traveled during the summer months and took over for vacationing priests, but without the pedophilia, I hope to help out this summer in Provincetown.

My wedding package, The Rite Stuff, includes one hour of pre-marriage counseling, because I don’t want to hear much more about it than that; the ceremony itself [I’m very good with parents]; and the reception after. My motto: “Every reception needs a wedding zinger.”*

At first I thought my ministry would make me tax-deductible, but it turns out I have to start a church. Future plans call for “The Church of the Possible” and cashing in on all those faith-based moneys. My dream is to get Jim and Tammy’s old Heritage USA Themepark at auction and start the waters flowing down the turquoise waterslide into the baptismal font once again.

And on and on I’d go. Don’t call me the Right Reverend. Or even the Left Reverend. Call me the Irreverend Kate Clinton.

Until my friend from Provincetown called me and my bluff and asked me to celebrate their union of 38 years. “We’ll get the justice of the peace thing but then we’d be honored to have you officiate in our living room, with a few friends. Then we’ll go out to dinner.”

And suddenly I am poring over my books, watching my video, worrying about my outfit and writing a special ceremony for my good friends. To celebrate their long relationship, the ups and downs and dish they’ve gone through together, that they lived through the AIDS plague, that they are the center of their often dysfunctional straight families, that they have to whack back their co-dependencies with large sticks, that they’ve both survived quadruple bi-pass surgeries and recoveries, that one of them still goes to T-dance, that they care for their aging surviving parents, that they’ve raised thousands of dollars for the Provincetown AIDS support group, that they are the most hysterical to watch the Women’s NCAA basketball finals with, that every male friend of theirs has a woman’s name, that they are spectacular loyal friends and boon companions to each other. Part celebration, part roast, I am as nervous about this occasion as when I first began to perform. And honored beyond measure and surprise to be asked to celebrate my friends’ love.

Get your licenses. Celebrate your friends. We’ll make this marriage thing ours yet. As that old dyke Susan B. said, “Failure is impossible”.

*I will also give a special, “Blessing of the Gay Singles” because this Mad Vow business is a bit tedious for them. I asked a single friend of mine about it and he said that sometimes he feels bad that he can’t join in any rainbow games.