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Call me the irreverend.

You've all heard my "mad vow disease" 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 oil 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 Dlugacz 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 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 minister and a book with sample ceremonies of weddings, funerals, and rites of passage. I must say the book is a bit of a disappointment. The paper is not that onionskin-thin variety of my old Catholic missal days. The cover 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 walletsize holographic license and the 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, Mass. My wedding package, the Rite Stuff, includes one hour of premarriage coanseling 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 monies. My dream is to get Jim and Tammy's old Heritage USA theme park 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.

Then friends from Provincetown call my bluff and ask me to celebrate their union of 32 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 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 codependencies with large sticks, that they've both survived quadruple by pass surgeries and recoveries, that one of them still goes to tea 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 spectacularly loyal friends and boon companions to each other.

I am as nervous about this occasion as when I first, began to perform and honored beyond measure and surprised to be asked to celebrate my friends' love. Get your licenses; celebrate your friends' unions. We'll make this marriage thing ours yet. As that old dyke Susan B. said, "Failure is impossible."
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Title Annotation:don't get me started; same-sex marriage
Author:Clinton, Kate
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2004
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