secret vows

On The Eve of Uganda’s Kill The Gays Bill, Two Men Get … Married?!


While blogger Jeremy Hooper’s Connecticut wedding gets featured in one of Martha Stewart’s magazines, we’re guessing this Uganda(!) wedding won’t be appearing in the periodicals anytime soon.

Not just because the two grooms could be imprisoned under Uganda’s current laws, but because the social stigma is alive and well. And the grooms and wedding party were running from cameras.

But as the blogger behind Gay Uganda notes, the two men, who wed in a secret ceremony on Saturday, actually did ask their parents’ permission to marry; and both sets of parents, amazingly, honored their wishes. The anonymous scribe shares his partner’s first-person account of the ceremony, which wasn’t even announced to guests as a gay wedding.

An enclosed compound, which was secured. Two armed policemen at the gate. Well, we can hire the police, like all other Ugandans. The details of the ceremony is our damned business. As long as they keep out inquisitive others. And, they did try to.

Guys arrived in their ‘introduction ceremony’ specials. Traditionally, it is traditional wear. It is a traditional ceremony. ‘Kanzus’ for the men, ankle length shirt like dress, white, with a jacket over them. A little tuck in at the waist, to expose the ankles, discreetly, to allow the man to walk without impendiment. The best, the most expensive are silk. Very smart. Women in ‘gomesis’, another very Ugandan piece of wear.

My partner arrived at the compound, and was let in.

On time, the ceremony started. It is long, with lots of gift giving, hyperbole, laughter. The grooms are not on show. Not at all. It is an elaborate ritual of give and take, laughter, noise, story telling. Introductions, rules of ceremony. With a master of ceremony on both sides (groom and groom), whose job is to make it as lively, as interesting as possible. The two compete to out do the other.

It is at the end, when the shy bride is brought out of the house. The one who is introducing her man to the prospective parents. That is when my partner realized that, it was a groom introducing a groom. A gay introduction ceremony. In Uganda, at this particular moment.

Fact is, the secret had been so well kept that, well, a number of people didn’t know!

My partner, well, his anxiety levels shot into the stratosphere. The buzz was, strong.

People were peeping in at the fence, and, the secret was out. A crowd was gathering, and the policemen were overwhelmed. A gay introductory ceremony was taking place, and, that was news indeed.

Music, talking, ritualized counseling. They happened, the kuchus now happy that the secret was out. They were delirious with joy. Two of their number were actually coming out and making their partnership official. In the traditional way.

Such gossip has wings. Crowd at the gate grew big. They wanted to know what was happening inside, in the compound. The rumours were too tantalizing. The music, the atmosphere of gaiety too tempting. They wanted to know.

Pure, absolute madness. Reckless, foolish, wonderful courage.

My partner decided it was time to leave, before it got violent. Signs were that it would.

Later, those kuchus who stayed told us that they started sneaking out, one by one. Cameras, that was the first fear. In all our finery, photos in the local tabloids can be damning. They left the food, drinks on the tables.

Gay Uganda says that despite police attention, the two grooms are “fine, for now.” If the Anti-Homosexuality Bill passes? Such action — getting married — would be punishable by life in prison.

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  • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

    Awed by the courage; saddened by the blight against love.

    When by BF of 22 years and I married last year, we were greeted by the most cheerfully smiling city recorder/justice of the peace at the Chatham City Hall on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She was so enthusiastically supportive that we asked her to marry us at the Chatham Bars Inn, beautifully nestled on the sea shore.

    Our witnesses have been friends since when we first met, and their darling high-school senior daughter was our all-in-one flower girl and ring barer. Chatham Bars Inn and their staff were wonderful too, bringing by presents from both the Inn and several staff members, bottles of really good champaign. Our small reception held on their front deck, shrimp and caviar, overlooking the ocean.

    I hope those two enjoy their lives together without fear, without bigotry, without hate. I’d say come here if you can, but those joys of Massachusetts are not enjoyed here in North Carolina. Canada, they welcome same-sex couples freely.

  • depfox

    our heartfelt congratulations are with them just as our prayers our also. I wish I could offer them in person.

  • romeo

    My best to both of them. What courage !

  • terrwill

    Mazel Toz (I hope I spelled that right, am actually a catholic boy!) Best wishes to your family! Yes frightwing nutbag lunatics……They ARE a family!!

  • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

    Why don’t they send this to Towleroad? There will be more movement there because the owners are really political..

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