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Getting Married on the Side of Love: The Justice Wedding of Jim Graham and Carolina Krawarik

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Oct 07, 2010

It’s Wednesday the 6th of October, three days until our wedding. And I am feeling introspective.

Carolina, my fiancee, and I have decided that the only way to do justice to my proposal at the 2010 UUA General Assembly is to do Justice in the taking of our vows and the celebrations surrounding the event. We have decided that after going to General Assembly and advocating for a “Justice GA” in 2012 we would like to help to set the tone by having a “Justice Wedding” in 2010. In other words, we will have a three day weekend of events oriented to foster the values in which we believe and to promote the causes that match those values. In fact, rather then ask for gifts, we are asking our guests to give a donation in our name to Standing on the Side of Love.


Jim proposes to Carolina at GA 2010

The “wacky wedding weekend” begins on Friday evening with a free screening of 9500 Liberty followed by a community forum to discuss the film. 9500 Liberty tells of a town in Virginia which passed an anti-immigration law similar to Arizona Senate Bill 1070 (SB 1070) ; it demonstrates the devastating social and economic impact of the “Immigration Resolution” that was felt in the lives of real people in homes and in local businesses. It reveals the ferocious fight to adopt and then reverse the policy inside government chambers, on the streets, and on the Internet. 9500 Liberty provides a front row seat to all three battlegrounds.

The debate around SB 1070 has been heated, not only here in Arizona but everywhere in the country. Many see us as a bellwether state where the issue of undocumented immigration (I refuse to use the dehumanizing term “illegal”) is concerned. Carolina and I feel very strongly that SB 1070 is a hateful law designed to marginalize people of color and turn neighbor against neighbor. Further it is a first step down the slippery slope of anti-immigrant hysteria. As such, she and I, along with HUNDREDS of our Unitarian Universalist (UU) family , marched in protest of the law, some even choosing to take arrest to make the point that this law is not only not the real will of the people it is unconstitutional and should never have been signed. We will continue to do outreach to the Latina(o) community here in Arizona and to use our privilege to work toward the defeat of SB 1070 and the passage of humane Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

On Saturday we have decided to hold a PReception prior to the marriage ceremony on Sunday the 10th. The PReception too is a “social action” event in that all of the dishes and flatware being used to serve our guests is either made from post-consumer materials or is biodegradable or compostable. We feel very strongly in the idea of “pack-it-in, pack-it-out ”. The native Americans have said that one shows respect to the land by leaving as little a mark on her as possible. It would be a travesty that our celebration would leave refuse in landfills that would outlive our families to several generations.

On Sunday the 10th of October, 2010 Carolina and I will take our vows and again there will be a social action element. We have asked all of our guests to come wearing a Standing on the Side of Love t-shirt. I hope to see a SEA of yellow shirts surrounding us as we pledge ourselves to one another. Also, we have decided to take a page from another great organization, whiteknot.org , and will be providing a piece of ribbon and a pin to each of our guests. Carolina and I are being hand-fasted and as the knot is is tied around our wrists we will ask our guests to tie a know in their ribbon to symbolize our support of all of those, including our minister and some of our wedding party, who are not able to tie the knot due to their sexual orientation.

We thought hard and long about whether we should even take vows given that many of our friends cannot. We consulted with friends and gathered opinions and came to the conclusion that this would be yet another opportunity to use our privilege to the advantage of our cause. We are in a position, as a white, middle class, heterosexual couple to show the world that the lack of equal marriage for our GLBTQI friends and family is as much an issue for us as it is for them. Where the rights of our brothers and sisters are denied so too are our rights denied. We hope that by this small action we can move a little closer toward the day where all people can enjoy the rights and privileges of marriage regardless of whom they choose to love.

The final event of the day will be a flashmob . We plan to take those of our guests who are willing to a local store (to be named later) and protest in support of Equal Marriage and against the corporate donation to anti-gay homophobic candidates in certain state elections. Imagine if you will between thirty and fifty (perhaps more!) people in your local store suddenly bursting into song: “we are standing on the side of love…” all of them but two in BRIGHT yellow shirts and those last two in wedding finery – he in a tuxedo (with a cumberbund and bow tie in SSL yellow) and she in her poofy, beaded cake-topper wedding dress (with a matching sash in SSL yellow). We plan to sing a song or two and then leave all the while handing out SSL cards denouncing homophobia as the great sin. It should be a blast.

We are planning to blog again about the events and tweet (twitter.com/acmehero) as well as post to Facebook to give a real-time feel. And, of course, we will be videoing the events as much as possible. I will try to send those in to the SSL folks as well. Perhaps we can inspire other events like this around the country. Wouldn’t that be great? Weddings all over the country were core values like diginity, environmental responsibility and giving back to the community are a central focus. We hope to see it. Until then and evermore Carolina and I will be Standing on the Side of Love in Arizona.

Jim Graham, Arizona

7 Responses to “Getting Married on the Side of Love: The Justice Wedding of Jim Graham and Carolina Krawarik”

  1. Adam Gerhardstein says:

    Amazing. Simply amazing.

  2. Karen Wills says:

    You folks are just way, way, way, too sweet!! It was great to meet you at General Assembly, thank you for bringing so much love here to Minneapolis, and I will absolutely make this donation in honor of your beautiful spirits!
    best luck always to you both,
    Karen Wills, First Universalist Church,
    Minneapolis, MN

  3. Illona Stewart says:

    Wow. Amazing. So courageous, what a truly inspiring example. What a truly WONDERFUL way to start a life together, best wishes to a couple truly deserving of happiness and success. So selfless to turn “your” day into one to promote social justice. It really takes a special person to even THINK of something like this, and the fact that both are on board for this, well that is one unstoppable team!!!!!!

  4. Roberta Ray says:

    I echo Adam’s sentiment – amazing! I am awestruck and very moved.

  5. All I can say is WOW!!!! This sounds like an incredible event and an amazing way to celebrate both your mutual spirit of love and the spirit of love that you have to share for all peoples.

    Victoria Mitchell
    Co-Moderator, Young Adult Caucus at GA

  6. Karen Scott says:

    My partner, Nicole, and I attend the Unitarian Universalist Church in Jacksonville, FL. We are also getting married this weekend. We are having a ceremony before friends and family here (which is not legally recognized) on Saturday and then flying out to D.C. Sunday so we can get legally married on Monday, Oct 11th. It happens to be National Coming Out Day, but we chose the date as it is our second anniversary. (Nice, huh?) We will be thinking of you and your wedding this weekend and are so grateful for the stand you are taking, Standing on the Side of Love. Each moment that we choose, as human beings, to stand in love and to reach for equality, makes a difference. Thank you for your stand.

  7. Dear Carolina and Jim,
    You too are amazing human beings so of course you’d have an amazing wedding. Congratulations! Wish I could be there but I know we’ll meet again!
    Standing on the Side of Love with you!
    Claire Deroche
    UUCSR

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