A campaign to invite the Justices of the Supreme Court to same-sex weddings has an underlying mission.

A campaign to invite the Justices of the Supreme Court to same-sex weddings has an underlying mission.

How high profile is the pending Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage? Pretty major. Maybe even big enough to increase the mail reaching the Court.

I’m sure the Justices regularly receive quite a bit of mail—which they cannot answer, for obvious reasons. But now that mail may include wedding save-the-dates.

A movement spearheaded by actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson (of Modern Family TV fame) aims to inundate the Justices with save-the-date wedding announcements—for same-sex couples.

Given his partnership with the website Funny or Die, there are bound to be a few funny elements to the initiative. Here’s how one news story on it opens:

“With the Supreme Court nearing a decision on marriage equality, Funny or Die has collaborated with Jesse Tyler Ferguson to encourage same-sex couples to send Supreme Court justices wedding save-the-date announcements—a reminder of the human lives its ruling will impact.”

Read the complete story here.

Supreme Save the Date with Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Adding to the humor, Ferguson has taped a video in which he plays various Justices, each of whom is baffled by the onslaught of invitations they are receiving. Here it is:

Whatever your beliefs on how the Court should rule, I’m hoping you enjoy the video. Perhaps it’s similar to a past video that portrayed the Justices as puppies. I wrote about it here, but I’ve included the video again below:

Chief Justice Berch and one of the happy couples

Last Friday, I reported on a mass wedding held on the steps of the Arizona Supreme Court.

It was a cool and pretty trippy event, seeing almost 200 people joined in matrimony en masse. I recall a few friends who got married at San Francisco City Hall, and, like last week’s event, it was both romantic and blissfully brief. (They ended up on the rocks, but that’s a different story.)

(For more photos of the wedding, go to the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.)

I promised before to try to obtain the remarks uttered by the Chief Justice as she bound the couples together legally. Her crack Court staff obliged, and so we end our week with some words of love and commitment. Have a great weekend.


(Celebrating Arizona’s 100th Anniversary of Statehood)

Location: Arizona State Courts Building (Northwest Steps and Lawn)

1501 West Washington Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85007

Date and Time: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 4:00 p.m.

Wedding Official: The Hon. Rebecca White Berch

Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Arizona

Good afternoon and thank you for being here. And thank you to all of our couples for inviting us to share in their special day.

How lucky to be able to do this on Valentine’s Day, a day that is all about love. And this Valentine’s Day is more special even than most, since it marks the 100th anniversary of our beloved state. We thank Michael Jeanes and the Clerks of the Courts for making this happen, along with many people from my court, and scores of volunteers.

It’s always an honor to do a wedding, but to do so many and be surrounded by so much love is truly special.

You come from many backgrounds and have traveled here from many parts of the state. But you share at least two things in common: First, you are in love and wish to formalize your relationships, and second, you are Arizonans and are celebrating the 100th anniversary of our statehood in this truly unique way.

I envy you your future anniversaries on Valentine’s Day. It’s such a romantic day. And Gentlemen, you now have no excuse to ever forget your anniversary!

Poets, authors, and others throughout history have striven to define love. Here are some of my thoughts. Love magnifies things—feelings, such as happiness, colors, our enjoyment of life. It enriches our lives, forms the foundation for families, and helps ease the burdens life can hand out. But it also gives each of you powerful information about the other that can be used as ammunition to create joy or to wound. It gives you special power to make the other happy, but also to hurt—you will know where the vulnerabilities are. Be careful to use the tools that you have been given to strengthen your marriage and build a strong relationship and a strong, warm, welcoming home.

Your marriage makes you a team, bringing strength, and giving you a friend who is always there and always on your side. But marriage also brings responsibility. This person is your best friend, your safety net. Do not take it for granted. For an untended net will fray, and once it does, it cannot contain all that’s within it. Do not take advantage. Tend this garden carefully so that its yield will be generous.

Marriage is a covenant, or contract, or agreement between two people that each will always be there for the other. You will make promises to one another today, promises that must last for a lifetime: To be faithful to one another, and to be faithful to yourself.

Though you become a team, it is a team made up of two fully developed individuals. So take care of yourself in this relationship, too. It cannot be a one-way thing.

Love moves beyond the excitement of romance and being “in love.” It becomes about thoughtful, committed decisions, made after consultation. Love not only talks, but listens. It requires you to care for your spouse, regardless of whether they deserve it at the moment. There will be times when you need caring when you might not deserve it.

It is part of the bargain you make today.

Now let’s get down to the business at hand. Would each of you please turn to the other.

Gentlemen, please take your lady’s hand, and look at her, really look at her. Listen to these statements, and then please affirm your agreement by saying “I do.”

Do you take this woman to be your wife, to love, to comfort, and to honor, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, though sadness and joy, for as long as you both shall live?

Now ladies, please look at your intended, if you agree with these statements, please affirm them by saying “I do.”

Do you take this man to be your husband, to love, to comfort, and to honor, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, though sadness and joy, for as long as you both shall live?

Now if you intend to exchange rings –

Men, place the ring on her finger and repeat after me: I give you this ring as a pledge of my love, as a symbol of unity, and with this ring, I thee wed.

Now the ladies, do the same. Place the ring on his finger and repeat after me: I give you this ring as a pledge of my love, as a symbol of unity, and with this ring, I thee wed.

May you always share with each other the gifts of love.

And now, by the power vested in me by the State of Arizona, on this Valentine’s Day and 100th Anniversary of our State, I now pronounce you husband and wife.

You may now kiss your new spouse.

Will everyone please join me in congratulating the happy couples.

Chief Justice Berch and one of the happy couples

On Change of Venue Friday, it’s my custom to share something a bit far afield from law practice. It’s the digital version of casual Friday.

But this week, Change of Venue takes you from law practice all the way to … the Arizona Supreme Court.

Hmmm? What? What could be more, well, legal than the state’s highest court?

True, I admit. And yet this week the Court plunged into an endeavor so wild that I couldn’t ignore it, especially on a Friday.

The unique occurrence, you may have heard, was simply this: Chief Justice Berch married, en masse, approximately 90 couples.

Who are those people? They are the couples who found a Centennial/Valentine’s Day mashup irresistible, who braved an almost-rainy day to gather and pledge their troth with 178 strangers.

The machinations that had to occur to allow this to happen must have been significant. Marriage licenses had to be obtained, and multiple public agencies had to coordinate. If a step in the process was missed, a couple could find themselves bound together by good feelings only, rather than by the power of the state.

Given those challenges, attendees agreed that the marital operation came off nearly flawlessly. (I suppose you could say the marital was carried out with martial precision.)

To add to the grace with which Chief Justice Berch and Superior Court Clerk Michael Jeanes (and their terrific staff) carried out their task, the Chief’s warm and well-written remarks were perfectly pitched to an outdoor occasion of joy and mirth. Well done. (I’ve asked to get a copy of the Chief’s remarks; I’ll share them when I get a copy.)

(For a less romantic take on Valentine’s Day, you should see the ad that 99 Cents Stores puts out on the loving occasion. Want to see it, don’t you? Then stumble on over to my Tumblr page.)

I’ve placed a few photos from the Court’s wedding here. But to see all of them—and there are a bunch—head over to the Facebook page of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Have a great—and romantic—weekend.