Linda Anne: As a friend to a gay couple such as this, if I choose to not attend the wedding for some of the reasons already stated in the comments, are there other ways that I can show tangible love to these friends? It seems to me that my refusal to go might make such a bold (cold?) statement, that further efforts at tangible, real, authentic love may seem empty or false. Does a refusal to go handicap my efforts of being a friend? Building a bridge? Or not?Linda Anne ultimately clarified that she was basically trying to make the observation that it would be a shame to waste the chance to be real and to support those you love by refusing to attend their wedding invitation. That said, there are many people who are friends and family members of gay people and several of those folks do not support gay or lesbian families. They love their family member and/or friend, but they do not support gay or lesbian weddings.
Jon: Not everyone who’s invited to a wedding can actually attend the wedding, for whatever reason. Why not simply send them a card wishing them well?
How should they react if they receive a wedding invitation from their lesbian relative or gay co-worker without coming off like a jerk? The solution seems simple, but for many it's not. I found an interesting article on the subject and thought I would share it.
WikiHow listed four different steps. Personally, I'd chop off the first step. Then again, others might find it helpful.
1. Speak to a religious leader about your faith's position on attending a same-sex wedding. I don't get the need to consult with one's pastor about the wedding. Either you disagree with the concept of the wedding or you don't. Do you really need to get feedback from your pastor before formulating a response?
2. Appreciate your friend or family member's wish to include you in an important life event. Gay and lesbian couples already know that people look down on our marriages and families. You might not respect or value our families, but that doesn't mean that our marriages and families aren't precious and valuable to us. You were honored with a wedding invitation. Be mindful of that before you send out a pile of Chick Tracks to the blushing brides.
3. Consider attending the wedding despite your personal beliefs. WikiHow asks an important question: Would you decline a wedding invitation for any other reason? You can attend a wedding, eat some cake, and dance a little jig without fully endorsing the wedding. In theory, at least.
4. Decline the invitation without citing a reason. This ultimately reflects my response to Linda Anne: Why not send them a card wishing them well? I invited people to my wedding with the idea that they very well couldn't (or wouldn't) attend the wedding. For one thing, the wedding was set in early January. I have family who couldn't attend due to icy roads. I have friends who couldn't attend due to other obligations. And it's very possible that there were some people who couldn't attend because they object to gay weddings. Fortunately, if that's the case, they were tactful about the matter.
WikiHow offered some additional tips and one warning. Some are more helpful than others:
*Many invitations include an RSVP section with contact information (phone numbers, addresses, email addresses) for the couple or their wedding hosts. Use this information to contact the party and let them know you will not be in attendance. Consider sending some sort of present in recognition of their pending relationship change when declining the invitation as a matter of politeness.
*Do not use your refusal as an opportunity to preach or lecture to your friend or family member. This would be entirely inappropriate. Under no circumstances should you use disrespectful words.
*If possible, speak directly to the brides or grooms, in person or with a phone call. People may ask them why you didn't come, and the couple will be even more hurt to hear second or third hand that you're not coming because you do not approve of their union.
*Do not accept if you think you have any religious issues but will try to be respectful. If you end up attending and bring up religious issues or otherwise end up causing a scene, it will likely cause permanent rifts with friends and family that you may never be able to fix.
*If you are compelled to admit that you do not approve of same-sex marriage, your friendship may well end or your familial relationships may become extremely strained. You may feel that this is unfair, but not everyone wishes to maintain a relationship with someone whose views are so fundamentally incompatible with theirs.