Paying Respect

10Apr09

Instead of a lame favor that no one will use, I’m leaning towards doing charitable donations. I figured we’d pick three or four charities that are dear to our hearts and put up a sign stating that the donations were made. I hate that “a donation was made in your honor” BS, mainly because I would be horrified if a donation was made in my name to a charity I don’t believe in. So we’re just stating that we made general donations.

So, we’ll be placing a sign…somewhere at our reception to inform our guests about what we’ve done. Most of our charities are the typical variety (cancer, animals) but I also wanted to make a statement about gay marriage. I do not take for granted that we’re able to get legally married while most gay couples in America don’t have that right. I would feel like I was “faking the funk” if I just skipped over that, as I can’t ever remember a time in my adult life when it wasn’t something I believed in.

There was a post earlier in the week at A Practical Wedding on about just this subject, and people had wide ranges of views. I think you should do what’s right for you, but I’m offended at some posts I’ve read across the blogosphere that if you’re not willing to say something at your wedding based on the fear of offending your guests or not wanting your wedding to be political, you’re not really an “ally” of the cause. That, my friends, is total bullshit. I’d love to say that I come from a family of progressive people who wouldn’t bat an eyelash at a mention of gay marriage during the ceremony. That is partly true. I was not raised to hate things or people I don’t understand, and my parents told me at a relatively young age that one of their groomsmen and my father’s dearest friends in the military was gay (obviously, Dad didn’t know until later, this was 1970). So obviously, this is not a choice they have an issue with, as my mom tried to find him for many years after they lost touch. My parents may have conservative politics, but not when it comes to civil rights.

Still, I come from a Catholic family. Jeremy’s family is true twangy southern Virginia southern Baptists. A lot of them don’t believe in gay marriage, and while I wish I could change their minds, my wedding is not the place to do this. I also believe that everyone has the right to their own opinion, no matter how ass-backward it may be.

So, I decided to write the following about our donation to the Human Rights Campaign:

The HRC is the nation’s largest civil rights organization fighting for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights. We do not take for granted that we are getting legally married today and this basic right is denied to gay couples in most states. We firmly believe that marriage should be an equal right for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation. We hope that if you do not share our views, you will respect our right to have them, as we do you.

I hope that will suffice. It’s showing our support without offending some guests who may not share our views. If they think less of us for having that view, well, then they can go to hell. I know that sounds rather flippant, but it’s just how I feel. I can still love my relatives who have views I don’t share, so if they can’t do the same for me, then maybe I’ll have to start pointing out the flaws in their logic.

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4 Responses to “Paying Respect”

  1. that is a beautiful thing to write about your donation. i’m in kinda the same situation and am thinking of just the right words for our ceremony program.

  2. 2 budgetbeautiful

    It’s a delicate dance, but I think the wording is important. Regardless of what we do, a wedding is not going to change people’s long standing opinions on this issue. But I can’t miss the opportunity to voice mine on the issue, even in a very small way.

  3. 3 DCKate

    We’re in a similar situation. I completely agree about what you said about being willing (or not) to make a statement as it corresponds to being an ally. One of my best friends is gay and he’s going to be in the wedding, and his partner will be in the crowd. I guarantee that they will not doubt our support for them just because we don’t make a statement about marriage equality in the ceremony. As much as I would love to make some kind of statement, I just don’t think it would be appropriate. However, we are going to ensure that the ceremony is worded carefully to avoid any reference to marriage being between a man and a woman. We are doing the donation thing too, and will probably donate to either HRC or Lambda Legal, but I’m not sure if we’ll include a statement about it somewhere or not. My family is REALLY Catholic, and unfortunately my parents (who are helping to pay for the wedding) would would be mortified. I don’t mind what the other folks think too much, but it’s a special day for our parents as well, and I don’t want to make them uncomfortable. It’s a very, very hard line to draw.

    • 4 budgetbeautiful

      Everyone’s situation is different, and whether you choose to show your support publicly or privately, that does not mean that you’re not an ally. I like not mentioning that marriage is strictly between a man and a woman is a good one, and one I might have to adopt as well. Large gestures are wonderful, but sometimes the small gestures are just as, or even more meaningful.


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