“…. to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.” I’ve only heard two men pronounce those words legally one time. I’ve been to two other post wedding receptions, but as a gay man in a 32 year relationship, the fact that I have so little experience witnessing a same sex marriage is astounding. The much anticipated nuptial that we attended was magnificently planned, and the 130 guests were treated like royalty. While the string quartet played a prelude, I glanced around the rows of friends and family. It was a diverse congregation, primarily straight like most weddings I’ve attended, but I assume that the gay folks were touched in a special way on that beautiful day in the rolling hills of western New York. There’s a rapid change going on in this country…more rapid than I’d ever imagined that I’d live to see. Everyone from Newscasters to actors and politicians have begun to remove their masks, and cast away their own notions of being second class citizens..and announcing that they’re gay. Having the right to marry if we choose to commit ourselves to one person for mutual growth, and support, and companionship until death separates us, can strengthen all of us…by promise and by example. If I wasn’t used to seeing two men taking marriage vows together, I must certainly believe that most of the other guests at Saturday’s wedding weren’t used to it either…but from the boisterous response of “WE WILL” to the question about our support, I’d imagine that every one of us were changed a bit at that moment. Many of us have come a long way since Ellen said those two courageous and earth shattering words on her TV series a long time ago…and I’m absolutely certain that the journey both enhances and embraces those other two very important words……mental health.