Saturday, September 10, 2005

Wedding Musings and the Animals in New Orleans

No, I'm not musing about my own wedding. As pastor to a GLBT-friendly church, I do quite a number of same-sex weddings here in Canada. I am touched and amazed by the number of US citizens coming here to be legally/civilly married, even though their home country/states/cities won't recognize it. It means so much to them, to have a marriage that is recognized by a civil authority, any civil authority. And many of them have been together for years (anywhere from five to 25 years). Some of them have already had committment ceremonies in their churches or on their own. But this is different for them, and I am privileged to be a part of it.

I have GOT to learn how to keep from getting weepy during the vows, though...

This is running through my mind this week because I performed a wedding Thursday evening and have another this afternoon. I've done a fair number (about eight or ten since April), but not two in one week! At the same time, I love doing them. Their wedding day is one of the happiest days in these couples' lives, and it is so wonderful to be a part of that.

One note about the debate over evacuating animals from New Orleans and the Katrina-damaged areas. It only makes sense to me to evacuate the animals with their owners. If the aid organziations are concerned about damage or allergies, put people with pets in a separate shelter, or keep the animals in a separate room (in crates or cages, of course). But by taking the animals out with their owners (or having pet-friendly shelters widely available, accessible by bus or other transportation for those without cars), you accomplish several things:
  • People are more likely to evacuate if they can take their pets
  • Evacuees are calmer and more relaxed
  • Fewer dead animals in the area (diseases, etc.)
  • Fewer packs of feral dogs (abandoned dogs will band together in packs--very scary--ask New York City, which has had this problem in the past)
  • Fewer concerns by rescuers who are going house to house of coming upon a frightened and deperate dog or other pet that has been left, locked in a bathroom or kitchen
  • Rescuers aren't diverted from human evacuations to evacuate animals, because the pets are already out

There will still be wild animals, of course--raccoons, skunks, alligators, etc.--so taking out the pets won't eliminate the dead animal problem (or the animal attack problem), but it would significantly diminish it, I would think. Nothing in a situation like this is ever 100 percent...

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