Same-sex marriage is one of the biggest political issues of current times. When you plan your own wedding, there’s a good chance you’ll be inviting gay friends or relatives. How you handle their plight and the feelings of other guests who might not favor gay marriage can be tricky. Here, some few tips on playing the diplomat while doing the right thing.
First off, never exclude a gay friend or relative just because you’re afraid that your legal nuptials will upset them. While it’s true that some gay people (and a few straight ones) have decided to boycott weddings until they’re legal for all Americans, your nearest and dearest are likely going to want to take part in your big day. Depending on your views, you can write gay friends a separate note saying you hope that, in the near future, you’ll be excited to attend their wedding. On the off chance that they won’t attend your wedding for political reasons, respect their wishes and leave it at that.
If your best friend or close relative is gay, and you want him or her in your wedding party, by all means ask. (Leaving them out of the wedding party is only going to encourage the idea that gays are not meant to take part in weddings.) You should take the person aside and talk to them about any issues they might have; it’s no different than talking to your recently-divorced maid of honor about the sensitivity of marriage, or your still-single older sister about feeling alone on such a special occasion.
Whether or not you mention gay marriage in your toasts, or singling out anyone in your wedding party as being discriminated against, is entirely up to you. Before you chant “He’s here, he’s queer, get used to it” from the dance floor, keep in mind that political statements are always risky, regardless of the subject matter. If you know that your conservative guests are going to be upset, it might make more sense to let your lesbian matron of honor’s presence speak for itself.
If you are against same-sex marriage, there is a chance that some of your gay friends will be hurt when they receive your wedding invitation. It’s up to you whether or not you want to write them a note or call them to talk about the issue, just like it’s up to them whether or not they want to attend your wedding. If they RSVP “no,” respect their feelings and look for other ways to find common ground. What makes this country work is the value we place on other people’s views, even during events like weddings.