Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Congresswoman Sends Her Love

We awaken in a lovely suite at the Garden Gate B&B in Palmer, Alaska, with views of glaciers and a gas fireplace and the sense that everything is perfect. We are together, we are happy, we are marveling over our beautiful Tiffany Atlas wedding bands.

And then, a little more icing: A voice message left this morning by Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev. She was calling in from her Washington D.C. office to congratulate us on our wedding and to say that she had read my piece in CityLife all about our difficult search for a rabbi.

The conclusion of that piece, of course, was that we discovered Rabbi Mel Hecht, who performed his first same-sex wedding on Sunday for us and spoke movingly during the ceremony about the epiphany that he had about the equality of gay and straight relationships.

The congresswoman told us in the message that she "wasn't surprised in the least" that Rabbi Hecht had done the ceremony and that "if you had called to ask me, he is the one I would have told you to get in touch with." I hadn't even considered asking the congresswoman for such advice, but she always has seemed to us to be a full-service representative!

Berkley concluded her exuberant (Berkley and exuberant are redundant terms, actually) message by saying she would be sending a donation to Temple Beth Am in our honor to show the rabbi her support for his decision to officiate our marriage.

Berkley, who has appeared for us at several fundraisers for the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and came on "The Strip" podcast in February 2006 to speak openly about her cosmetic surgery among other matters, is a fascinatingly genuine politician in these days of phonies.

I do wonder, though, if Berkley's position on legalizing same-sex marriage has changed. In 2004, I quizzed her about it while we were standing around at the Democratic caucuses and she said she supported full rights for same-sex couples but not "marriage." I imagine that's a political hair-splitting thing that's sort of unlike her and that, sooner or later -- perhaps already -- she'd come over to the full-on marriage-rights side.