In this deeply moving article, New York Times reporter Anemona Hartocollis tells the story of Richard Townsend, 77 and Jacques Beaumont, 86, partners of 39 years, who were married this week in the hospital room in which they are both being treated for terminal illnesses.
Mr. Beaumont, the more religious of the two, asked his pastor, the Rev. Glenn B. Chalmers, and former pastor, the Rev. Elizabeth Maxwell, of the Church of the Holy Apostles in Chelsea, to officiate. Mr. Beaumont admires the church for its soup kitchen. But priests in the Episcopal Diocese of New York cannot legally perform same-sex marriages, so they called in a colleague, the Rev. John E. Denaro, of the diocese of Long Island, where it is allowed, to join them and to sign the forms. “I’m John Doe — or Jane Doe,” Father Denaro said jokingly, getting into the cloak-and-dagger spirit.
As hospital workers in different-colored smocks crammed into the lounge, Mr. Jones, the former colleague of Mr. Beaumont at Cimade, conjured up a cobblestoned Paris street by playing a Charles Trenet song, “I Wish You Love,” on his melodica, which sounds like a cross between an accordion and a harmonica. Then, at Mr. Townsend’s request, he played “Your Song” — “with apologies to Elton John.” Another colleague, Muriel Glasgow, invoked Edith Piaf with her rendition of “Ne me quitte pas” (“Don’t Leave Me”).
Do yourself a favor and read the whole story, and as penance for your sins, think only charitable thoughts about the religious leaders across this country who work so hard to keep ceremonies like this one from happening.