I’ve been a fan of “Grey’s Anatomy” since the beginning and have enjoyed watching the Callie-Arizona (lovingly referred to by fans as Calzona) storyline develop over the last few seasons. So naturally I was very excited for this week’s episode where Callie and Arizona’s were going to get married. ***spoiler alert***
Overall the episode was in typical “Grey’s” fashion with its ups and downs, tears and cancellations, all before the final “I do’s” or in this case “I love you’s.” And as usual, Shonda Rhimes incorporates political hot buttons, slightly pushes the envelope, and addresses real issues that same-sex couples getting married in the United States have to face.
At first it seems like everything is going as planned. Both Callie and Arizona’s families are present at the rehearsal dinner and everything seems very amicable, other than a few biting remarks about Mark’s involvement. Quickly though it starts to become obvious that while Callie’s father has made huge strides since she came out to him, her mother does not share his excitement. Eventually Callie confronts her mother, who is not onboard with her “wedding, woman, and baby out of wedlock.” And just to twist the knife further, her mother confesses how “devastating” it is to raise a child and know she won’t “see that child in heaven.” Needless to say, her mother decides to leave and that she can’t be a part of this wedding.
I personally love her mother’s logic here. It makes complete sense that because Callie is openly and honestly committing herself to one person for the rest of her life, she will most definitely be going to hell. Other than being gay, Callie has clearly made no other sins that her mother could be fault her for. She certainly hasn’t ever lied, had pre-marital sex, been previously married outside the Catholic church, or gotten divorced. It’s obviously her love and devotion to Arizona that will banish her to hell, deserving a lifetime of torture.
After her mother leaves and Callie sends her father away, she finds out the only minister who had agreed to marry them has had a family emergency and cannot be there. This is the final straw for Callie who immediately calls off the wedding. In her mind, if she can’t have a priest, she no longer has a minister, she’s not given away by her dad, and it’s not even legal, there is no point. She even goes as far as to say that it’s “just two girls playing dress up.” Thankfully, Bailey knocks some sense in to her and forces her to realize that God is within her and the church, and her mother, just hasn’t “caught up to God yet.” Standing up in front of family, friends, and God, to commit yourself to someone is real and is what the basis of marriage is. After all, Bailey got legally married to a man in a church and we all know how that turned out.
Callie calls the wedding back on and is walked down the aisle by Mark to meet Arizona and Bailey, their stand-in officiant. Both in beautiful white gowns, surrounded by those who love them, Callie and Arizona exchange their vows and are pronounced “wife and wife.” At the same time across town, Derek and Meredith are at the County Court House signing their official marriage license. Contrastingly, Derek and Meredith, both dressed in black business attire, were married in a cold and unromantic Judge’s chamber. Clearly, one was a wedding and the other was a legal procedure. Everything about these two ceremonies were purposely in complete juxtaposition with each other. Callie and Arizona were having a wedding because they were in love and wanted to commit their lives to each other. Derek and Meredith were already committed and only got “married” because they needed to do it to adopt a baby. In this case, while the state of Washington might not consider the Calzona wedding to be a real marriage, it was for all the right reasons and full of both love and happiness.
I think in this day and age, that’s all most of us, gay or straight, really want for our future. We want to find someone who we love so much that we can completely commit ourselves to them in front of everyone who matters to us. That’s what a true marriage is. It’s not just some document a judge signs and clerk processes. Hell, even Derek and Meredith’s post-it marriage seemed more legitimate, not to mention romantic, than watching them sign their names on a legally recognized piece of paper.
In the end, at the reception, Callie’s dad makes in appearance and cuts in on Mark and Callie’s weird, semi-sweet (and if you think about it, kind of incestuous) Father-Daughter dance. Callie’s dad knew he needed, and wanted, to be there for the most important moment in his daughter’s life. It’s truly a touching moment when he returns, but still remains bittersweet with the absence of her mother.
I know if it were my wedding, it wouldn’t be the same without my mother to help me get ready, even if she usually only adds to my stress level. When my girlfriend and I first announced our engagement to my parents, you could have heard crickets chirping outside the restaurant they were so quiet. I was really upset and definitely resented them for it at first. It took some time for them to come around, especially my mother. I wasn’t raised in a religious household, so her reluctance, or more appropriately hesitation, was not because I was going to be doomed to an eternity in hell, but I think she just didn’t understand where she fit in. Once I made a point to talk about it more, regardless of how awkward the conversations were, it forced her to speak up and ask questions. We still have our awkward moments from time to time, but my mom has come a long way. It wasn’t even a month ago that we were sipping martinis at the LGBT Wedding Expo with my Maid of Honor, Bride-to-be, and future in-laws. I figure at this rate, by the time we actually get married, she’ll be comfortable taking on her role as the Mother of the Bride and will be truly happy that her daughter has found someone to share her life with, regardless of legality or gender.