Straight manners at gay weddings

Heartfelt Ministries has had the pleasure of blessing a few Domestic Partnerships this year. I truly wish that they could have been true weddings, but that’s the way the law is currently written, sadly. In time I am hopeful that we can stop the discrimination, but until then I’d like to offer a few tips for straight folks and family members who are attending the bonding ceremony of their gay/lesbian child or friend.

Of course, if you are completely against the entire idea of same-sex marriages, then don’t attend. Send back the invite with a polite refusal and leave it at that. There’s no need to be a barbarian about it. For those who want to support their friend or family member, I offer these simple suggestions.

  •  First of all, please relax! Nothing weird is going to happen, it’s just a party. I doubt either Borat or Caligula will be hiding in the flower arrangements, despite what you may have been told by certain kinds of extremists.
  • Bring a gift or at least a card. No matter how you may feel about same –gender marriage, your hosts are truly of the mind that this is their wedding day. 
  • Be polite. Gays and lesbians are people, no more and no less.
  • Chat. Strike up a conversation, since you don’t want to be too aloof. Football, politics, work, the news, elections, you name it. They have an interest in current events, just as you do.
  • Don’t stare. It is highly likely that there will be bonded couples present, most probably as friends of the hosting couple. There may be public displays of affection such as handholding or discreet kisses. Don’t freak out. You have been warned.
  • At the reception, if someone makes a pass at you, be polite and thank them for the compliment but turn them down. My standard line in those cases is “Thanks for the compliment, but I’m straight.” It usually is taken as a polite refusal and no harm done.
  • Don’t ask about their sexual practices. It’s incredibly gauche and awkward, not to mention a terrible invasion of privacy. How would you like a stranger asking about your sex life in public?
  • Like any other wedding, have a good time!  Enjoy the food, the music and have fun. Your friends will appreciate your good wishes and be glad you came.

It’s all about being a good guest, like any other social event. Most adults have the good manners to do that even in a group they may be unfamiliar with. If you are really uncomfortable then stay for an hour and then make your excuses and leave. At least you showed.

I’m assuming that you may not be all that familiar with the gay and lesbian community, so some of these suggestions might seem obvious. You’ve been invited to celebrate an important event in their lives and that means you have some importance to the couple. Hopefully these suggestions will help you to feel more comfortable in a social situation you may not have encountered before.

Please leave us a comment with your tips on being a good guest at any social function. You never know, you may give us an idea for our next blog.

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