Needs a Pavilion
Their clothes were the color of the white caps
Rising above the turbulent water
Their smiles brighter than the shining sun
Brilliant diamonds dancing on the water
Reminding us of the value of Love
An eastern wind whispering warm wishes
As if coming from the Land of Promise.
And although we walked on an old boardwalk,
Splintered and worn and discolored by age,
It might as well have been a street of gold
For we were all in the presence of Love
All of us feeling the presence of God
For as we know in our hearts, God is Love
And for a moment, we were in Heaven.
Jan Moore and Emily Sonnessa --
Their smiles tell the story!
On Sunday, September 16, 2007, at 4pm, Jan Moore and Emily Sonnessa, Ocean Grove residents, were joined in Civil Union, surrounded by friends, family and local supporters. Deputy Mayor Randy Bishop officiated at the ceremony on the pier in their home town on that flawless day in late summer. A reception followed at Moonstruck Restaurant in Asbury Park.
Jan Moore describes that special day: "The day was magical and we felt so young and realized that after 38 years our dreams were coming true. Having Randy perform the ceremony and being surrounded by friends and family made our world perfect. My son said, "Oh my god, Mom, you can feel the love." How right he was.
Emily's side was represented by four generations; mine by children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews. People arrived to witness and share the joy of the day with us, many we didn't know. The air was filled with celebration of the new laws, the freedom of publicly showing our love, and knowing that tomorrows will be easier for the next generations. How blessed we are to be able to stand for what we believe in, and believe in what we stand for.
After the service, we all went to Moonstruck and celebrated some more. My son and his wife were my witnesses and Emily's niece and nephew were hers. Even the seven and under group said it was a good party.
We recently were witnesses for a couple who have been together for thirty years. They enjoyed ours so much it encouraged them to have a Civil Union with Randy doing their service. Love is catching, how good is that?"
Harriet Bernstein and Luisa Paster, under
the chuppah on their Civil Union Day.
On Sunday, September 30, 2007, over a hundred friends, family, and local residents gathered on the fishing pier to celebrate the civil union of Harriet Bernstein and Luisa Paster, both of Ocean Grove. Under blue skies the couple raised the traditional Jewish wedding canopy and heard words of welcome and blessing from Tom Pivinski of Asbury Park, Rabbi Al Landsberg of Temple Emanu-El in Edison, and Neptune Deputy Mayor Randy Bishop.
Ms. Bernstein, a retired school administrator, and Ms. Paster, a staff development provider at Princeton University, have filed a complaint with the NJ Division on Civil Rights regarding the refusal of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association to allow their civil union to be celebrated in the boardwalk pavilion. Decision on the case is still pending. "Although this beautiful weather allowed us to hold our ceremony in the open air, we will continue to urge the Camp Meeting Association to reverse their decision so that all couples, gay and straight, may use the pavilion to celebrate their joys in a fair and equal manner," Ms. Paster said.
These sentiments were echoed by Ms. Bernstein's two sons, "This is a special day for us. Today adds joyful emphasis to an extraordinary period in our lives: We've had the great pleasure of seeing our mother in a happy, fulfilling relationship. We appreciate and admire the warmth and wisdom Luisa has added to our family. We've also taken great pride in the principled stance you have both taken against the forces of intolerance that took unfortunate form on the otherwise beautiful and welcoming streets and beaches of Ocean Grove."