RBG renewed our marriage vows
When we learned that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her daughter, Jane, would be visiting us in August 2015, a friend on our embassy team encouraged me to write and ask if she might officiate at a brief ceremony to renew Clayton’s and my marriage vows.
She replied that she would be delighted.
Justice Ginsburg’s visit came a few weeks after the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which said that our union would be recognized in all fifty states.
We hoped that by having Ginsburg renew our vows, we could show the people of Vietnam that it was possible for LGBT+ people to have families.
I held our nineteen-month-old son in my arms during the ceremony, and when his five-month-old sister began to cry, a caretaker held her out of sight of the friends and colleagues who had gathered.
Ten years before, when the two of us first took our vows, they mattered mostly just to the two of us. This time, those vows also mattered to two small people who are like our hearts beating outside our bodies.
When I placed a ring on Clayton’s finger and reaffirmed my commitment “to have and to hold . . . from this day forward through all our life together,” our son decided to lunge from my arms into Clayton’s.
Those vows have only grown in significance because of how fiercely we love our children, and because we know better now what marriage means.
“Ted Osius has written a wonderful book about his, and America’s, relationship with Vietnam. He shows vividly how through diplomacy—not just government to government, but people to people and culture to culture—former wartime enemies surmounted differences once thought unbridgeable, and makes the case for pursuing goals still thought impossible, like the advancement of human rights in Vietnam. His story is fascinating, fun to read, and a primer for how America can regain its standing and influence in Vietnam and beyond.” — Thomas Malinowski, U.S. representative from New Jersey’s 7th district.