There are some people who just enjoy having a lot of cool hobbies, or "side hustles," as Kirstan Thompson called them. But among her multitude of hobbies, there tends to be one that's most fulfilling.
Thompson's favorite is her role as an ordained minister. She became interested in the work when she saw the opportunity online. Thompson's family background helped her decide to whom she would offer minister services.
"Both of my brothers on my mom's side and my dad's side are gay," Thompson said. "It's a very common thing I've grown up around and it just felt natural."
Gay marriage was legalized in 2015 through Obergefell v. Hodges. However, Pew Trusts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to informing citizens on public policy, said most states would ban it again if the Supreme Court decides to overrule the case, similar to the overturning of Roe v. Wade and its consequences. This source explains that 35 states have anti-same-sex marriage laws in their state constitutions, and they would likely revert to law if Obergefell v. Hodges was overturned.
Justice Clarence Thomas said in a concurring opinion following the overturning of Roe v. Wade that the court should consider revisiting same-sex marriage rulings.
"I know (gay marriage) is something that a lot of people have negativity towards and I know a lot of ministers flat out won't offer services," Thompson said. "So that's why I was like, 'if I can do it, I'm happy to offer that service.'"
In April, Thompson posted an ad on Facebook about her services and shared that she performs wedding ceremonies for couples of all religious denominations and LGBTQ+ couples. The ad was posted in different groups, and Thompson said she received nasty messages and comments.
"I don't care what you believe in, who you are or whatever, as long as you're happy,“ Thompson said. "It'll never stop amazing me just how hateful people can be about things that absolutely don't affect them whatsoever."
Despite how others react to Thompson's work, she will always be there to offer support to couples through the opening act of their marriage journey.
"And I tell people, you know what, if nobody else is gonna be there to cry on your wedding day, I'm gonna be the one that cries," Thompson said.
Weddings can be especially emotional for the loved ones of couples and couples themselves. Most attendants don't expect the people hired to facilitate wedding services to be emotionally involved, but Thompson is an example of someone who loves love. One of her favorite parts of performing at weddings is when a person watches their partner walk down the aisle.
"Sometimes it's just when they first lay eyes on each other and it's that 'we're about to do this' moment," Thompson said. "When you see those two people look at each other and in that moment you can almost feel what they're feeling and you can almost see their thoughts … you can see the love, you can see the 'we're about to jump here.' It's just such a neat thing to see."
Not only is Thompson an ordained minister, but she is also getting a certified nursing assistant license. But her new hustle won't stop her from performing wedding ceremonies.
"I don't have a reason not to (continue)," Thompson said. "It's one of those things that, why not be part of that? There's so much negativity in the world right now. It brightens my day. Why not get a little bit of happiness? And if you can give yourself a little bit of happiness and give somebody else happiness in the midst of it, that's a wonderful thing."
Thompson said she doesn't have a favorite wedding ceremony she's performed because each special day has something in common.
"It's the happiest day of somebody's life," Thompson said. "To say you got to bring that together for somebody is wonderful.”