Do You Invite Guests Who Have Issues with Gay Marriage?

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Let’s assume you’re in this dilemma because whoever it is that presents the problem is either on the guest list or you’re thinking about adding them to it.

It's a tricky one.

Maybe, people who take issue with same-sex relationships shouldn't be invited to a same-sex wedding. Ignorance, after all, shouldn't be an excuse. Yet sometimes, we have to accept that 85 year-old Granny May grew up in a different time. A different world, really. Sometimes Uncle Bob can love you as a person but he might struggle to accept your sexuality. 

In most scenarios we can ignore, avoid or dismiss those whose judgement offends or upsets up.  

But this isn't the Westboro Baptist Church (hopefully). This is your family.

You need to consider:

On a scale of mild discomfort to violent bigot - where does this person rank?

 If they have ever demonstrated an intolerable level of homophobia, then even if they gave birth to you - no just no. They don't get to go to your wedding.

As if weddings weren't a hot bed of dysfunction anyway: the drink, the close quarters, all those family secrets and agendas. All those in-laws cooped up together in one room? Yeah, good luck even if you have a family that love the fact you're gay.

If you're certain that they're going to cause a scene, then they don't get to go.

It's different if you trust someone to keep their discomfort to themselves. Maybe it shouldn't be, but that's my opinion. If you absolutely want that person at your wedding, then invite them. Let them dig as deep as they can into their iron resolve to not be moved by a beautiful ceremony. Don't look to make them deliberately uncomfortable. Invite them to the evening reception if you think they'll feel awkward about the ceremony. 

A small note on the invitation might work, too. Let people know that they're more than welcome to celebrate with you and your partner, but you'll understand if they can't make it. If a guest is going to choke on the soup because they've just seen two men or two women share a kiss, then why waste a perfectly good invite (or soup) on them.

Perhaps, you see yourself as an educator? What better way to show someone that same-sex relationships are normal, loving partnerships than by gently introducing them to the idea on your wedding day. It’s difficult not to be moved by wedding ceremonies. Ignorance is often born out of a lack of familiarity, and stereotyping of gay couples still persists today. Maybe they're expecting more Liberace than black tie? More Priscilla Queen of the Desert than low-key elegance? Your wedding can double-up as a nice bit of rainbow PR, too. 

Perhaps however, you don’t know how someone will react. This is trickier. If you’re inviting work colleagues, then maybe you’re not aware of any ill feeling towards same-sex couples. Maybe Darren and Suzy from accounts always seemed lovely, but one to many Malibu's and they end up quoting the Book of Revelation.

In reality, however, most people will probably make their excuses not to attend. They'll be busy doing something else. They're unavailable. That's fine. 

Some people might feel the need to tell you that they are declining because they don't agree with same-sex marriage. This is fine, too. Thank them for informing you and then tell them to stick their RSVP up their bigoted...  leave them be. If they can't handle two people getting married for love, then that's their problem. It isn't yours. You're organising a wedding. You don't have time to deal with them.

You want everyone at your wedding to be there out of love and respect for you and your partner. If you're unsure of someone's feelings, then talk to them. Have an honest conversation with them and find out where you both stand. Let them know that you won't tolerate any disrespect towards any of the guests. Let them explain their position because maybe it's something you can help them come to terms with.

Be sure to consider any potential flash-points in your seating plan, too. Not that you haven’t got enough to do, but that’s wedding planning, isn't it?

Tempted to elope yet?

Bottom line: whether you're an opposite or same-sex couple, weddings are complicated affairs. They're a bit similar to dousing a wasps nest in brandy, then shaking it vigorously before setting it on fire and playing catch with it with your partner.

Good luck.

If people love you enough to overcome their own prejudice, then give them the chance to share in your day.

 You never know, next year you might be taking Granny May to Pride.


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