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Being Pride month, it was appropriate timing that my husband and I recently attended the wedding of Jonathan and George.

To witness their union was a blessing. Family and friends from all corners of the world filled the rows of seats as we sat waiting patiently for the grooms to arrive. Jonathan, originally from Boston, has Italian-American roots. George, born in California, is Mexican-American.

As I looked from one row to another, what was abundantly clear was not the varied mixture of cultures, ages, genders, and sexual orientation of attendees, but the copious amount of love and support for this about-to-be newly married couple at the beginning of their journey together.

It would be easy to take this celebration for granted, but I can assure you that for members of the LGBTQ+ community, we do not. You only need to pick up a newspaper or switch on the news to hear about the continual attack on equal rights. To clarify, we have made immense progress, but will are still far from true equality.

I couldn't help think back to my wedding, but not for the reasons you may think. You see, my soon-to-be father-in-law, who had only confirmed his attendance that very morning was initially not very happy to be there. Without going into too much detail, he was wrestling with his own demons, a case of right versus wrong spurred on by his religious beliefs. I bring this up not to point the finger at the misguided, archaic doctrine of the Catholic Church, but to tell you about something much more powerful; one man's complete

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transformation from discomfort and confusion to acceptance and celebration. You see, as the day unfolded, my father-in-law realized that whether it be a man or a woman, or two members of the same sex, love is love. It was as if the dark clouds parted, allowing the sun to light up the sky. I still tear up at the memory of his transformation. It is a moment I will never forget. I believe the world would be a very different place if seen through the eyes of my father-in-law. If only.

This brings me back to the glorious wedding of Jonathan and George. For one evening at the Franciscan Gardens, where we cried, laughed, and danced the night away, we celebrated the union of two souls and the fact that love is love is love.

By Ben Hartley

#loveislove #lovewins #pride #lgbtq+ #gaywedding #celebrate #nohate #progress

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