Through Beyond Ex-Gay, Christine and I received a message from a parent wondering if he should attend his son’s wedding. In corresponding with this man, I felt moved by the humility and openness I sensed in his e-mails.
After considering conversations with friends whose parents did attend and those who did not attend their ceremonies, I wrote some thoughts down. Below is his original message followed by my response.
As a Roman Catholic, and the father of a Gay son, I am at a crossroad. As a devout member of my faith and Church, I don’t know if I should attend a ceremony if my son decides to marry one of the same sex. I love my step-son very much. That is why I used the word father instead of step-father. I have never had any problem with his choice of living, nor do I forbidden for joining us at holidays and bring his partner.
But the idea of marriage is something that my wife and I are debating quietly. Could you help me?
Here’s my answer:
Thank you so much for writing. Your message touches me deeply. In it I hear your love for your child. Mixed with love I hear the religous conflict that creates complications in regards to a possible marriage. That you seek out answers and communicate your thoughtfulness and concern reveals much about you.
I know of gay men and women who have fairly decent relationships with their parents, but because their parents chose to not attend their child’s wedding, the son or daughter felt deeply hurt and disappointed. They understood that their parents did not endorse the wedding. The son or daughter never wanted an endorsement. They wanted to share their special day, perhaps the most important day of their lives, with the people they love the most. In some cases, as a result of the parents opting out and the hurt and tension it produced, a wall of sorts has developed between parent and child.
When you go to your son’s wedding, it is a statement that you love him and that HE is more important than any issue in either of your lives.
Family members do not always approve or feel thrilled about the partners people choose. Awhile ago a female cousin of mine married a man that most of us could not stand. Loud, obnoxious, opinionated, he alienated lots of people with his big mouth. But my cousin loved him, and through the years we have seen how happy she has been and how wonderfully he treats her. I went to her wedding so many years ago because she is family. My love for her trumped any misgivings or discomfort I had.
You can be loving and loyal to your son without compromising your faith. This wedding will be his special day, and it sounds like he would want you there regardless of how you feel about two men marrying. Your relationship runs deeper than that, and from what I can see in the Gospels, Jesus cares about relationships, good loving relationships, above making a point. In fact, I think that was his point when he dined with folks that the religious leaders rejected. Besides the first miracle he performed was at a wedding (after his mother asked him).
I do hope you attend your son’s wedding even if it causes discomfort. I believe that in the end you will have far less regret if you go than if you do not attended.