Show your support for same-sex marriage by giving them your first dance

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Photo via John Green
Photo via John Green

Bestselling author John Green recently attended the wedding of two friends. The pair decided, in lieu of a first dance, that they would honor the same-sex couples in attendance by letting them have the first dance instead. Here's how it went down, including the song choice that made me choke up.

When it came time for the couple's traditional first dance, Joe read prepared remarks explaining that instead of dancing together, they wanted to open the dance floor to their gay and lesbian friends who are still legally denied the right to marry.

This was a large and very diverse wedding in a state that doesn't even recognize same-sex civil unions, let alone marriage. And yet the ovation that these people received while dancing to The Beach Boys' “Wouldn't It Be Nice” was like nothing I've ever heard at any wedding. If there were dry eyes, I didn't see any.

Change is coming.

We've talked about ways to show your support for same-sex marriage before, but this one really knocks it out of the park.

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Comments on Show your support for same-sex marriage by giving them your first dance

  1. Why didn’t I think of that!? Ugh!
    Brillant way of handling that question.

  2. I’m planning to keep our first dance as our first dance and then inviting “all life partners” to join us.

  3. I don’t want to poop on anyone’s parade (mods, moderate as needed if my thoughts are out of line), but just take care to know your crowd. I don’t mean people should capitulate to haters. It’s more that this seems to run the risk of singling out people who may or may not be comfortable with being singled out and putting them on display/turning them into an exhibit to be stared at/making them into objects of pity. This is a Proceed With Caution thing, IMO…

    • Word. Also, make sure you have ENOUGH same sex couples. If there is only one such couple, they could feel singled out in a very uncomfortable, “Look at my gay BFF omg he’s SO ADORBZ” kind of way. This is a wonderful, beautiful idea – and omg the song choice is heart-hurtingly perfect – if you know your gay and lesbian pals well enough to know they would dig it, and if you have enough of them to keep it from being like a museum display.

  4. i dunno, if i were offered it i would feel weird and actually kind of insulted. not like they are purposely trying to insult me, just the circumstance. it’s like letting a little kid sit behind the wheel of a car but not letting them drive. well, i’m sure there’s a better analogy. still, it just… bugs me. “we know you can’t get married, so we’re going to have you take our first dance so everyone can see you enjoy something you don’t get to do legally while we look upon you and smile, thinking we’ve done a good deed.” ugh.

    • I was there. I’m the prego in the dress. The couple made a point of asking every one of us what we thought and if we wanted to participate. The thing that made it sweet was that it was not intended to be a stunt or a political display. It really was a sincere demonstration of love and respect for some of their closest friends. Seeing my mother in law watching with pride and joy made it even better.

  5. My first reaction as a lesbian is that this is extremely touching & beautiful. It shows how much the married couple cares for their lgbt friends/family, enough to make a statement at their own wedding, to help them feel welcome.

    Attending straight weddings are always so awkward for me. They shouldn’t be, but they are. In Canada, same-sex marriage is legal so I’m not upset that I can’t have the same thing, but there is a lot of privilege on display at straight weddings. Most often straight couples don’t have to worry about people not showing up due to their sexuality, avoiding certain vendors, finding lgbt-friendly vendors, avoiding certain family members, etc. Things are not the same for us even though we do have the same legal right. Also, I have to worry that if I get up to dance with my girlfriend at a straight wedding, are there going to be people staring at us? Making judgements? Do I pretend we’re just friends?

    So I can appreciate this gesture. It acknowledges our existence, and makes the atmosphere lgbt-friendly, or at least a little safer, and a little less alienating.

  6. Well I’m in tears… Partner and I just signed our paperwork a few weeks ago. We didn’t have a wedding because we didn’t feel like it was fair to make a ton of people fly out to what would not be a legal ceremony and wouldn’t really change our circumstance, but we still wanted SOMETHING. So we had a little family potluck and our parents gave amazing and totally unexpected speeches about our love and the joining of families. There were no first dances, there was no cake, but it sure as hell felt like the joining of our families. We’re going to two weddings in the next two weeks and I’m sure it will be very different than our little potluck, but we support them as they have supported us. We’ll get there someday.

  7. I love this idea. If I wasn’t already restraining the guest list to people who are open minded and happy for us, I would definitely steal this idea. At the very least for my three gay cousins and their partners who had to endure horrible bible beating at our family reunion for years and who have finally become accepted for who they are. And the members of the family left who don’t accept it have learned to keep their mouths shut!

  8. I love this idea. I hope it’s okay that I’m totally stealing it. 🙂 Even the song. It’s such a perfect song for this.

    And addressing some of the comments made above, I actually asked the same sex couples attending our wedding if they would like to have a same sex couple only dance in support of gay marriage and they all said they’d love it. (I, too, was worried about putting them on the spot and also tokenism) What they don’t know is that their dance is going to be first. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to say yet, but, in addition to something about a dance to honor those who are in love but cannot legally get marrited, I wanted to say something along the lines of “for once, you don’t come second. For once you’re not an afterthought. Tonight, you get to be first.” Any feedback? How does that sound? Suggestions appreciated.

  9. This is such a sweet idea!

    My fiancé and I want to give a donation in lieu of favors to honor our guests at our wedding, and we’ve been thinking about giving to a marriage equality organization. If anyone has any particular organizations to suggest (especially statewide orgs – here in New England, we don’t get much action from statewide marriage equality groups anymore!), I’d love to hear about them =)

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