How LGBTQ couples can tell detractors they're getting married.
Invite your parents to have a talk about gay marriage. Explain that same sex marriage is legal and acceptance is growing. Recent surveys indicate up to 71% of the U.S. population is supportive.”
— Minister Sue Rakowski
LGBTQ couples have fought hard for same sex marriage to be sanctioned. Gay marriage has been legalized in all 50 states as of June 26th, 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality at the federal level in Obergefell v Hodges by a close 5-4 vote.
“But there are battles many of us must face on our path to marry the one we love: dealing with opposition from non-gay-friendly family members, employers and others in our sphere of life,” said Wedding Officiant Minister Sue Rakowski.
“As a gay wedding officiant I’ve experienced first-hand the grueling struggle that many loving couples face. How do you tell the disapprovers you’re getting married and turn their condemnation into harmonious consensus? Here are my 10 guidelines to help diminish and weaken the resistance,” said Minister Sue.
1. Review the statistics with family naysayers. Invite parents to have a serious talk about gay marriage. Explain that same sex marriage is completely legal and acceptance is growing. Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll (https://news.gallup.com/poll/393197/same-sex-marriage-support-inches-new-high.aspx) indicates up to 71% of the U.S. population is supportive. Last year 20,000 gay couples wed in churches and synagogues as an increasing number of religious leaders are open to performing same sex marriage ceremonies.
2. Explain you’re not going anywhere. You’re not entering a ‘foreign’ legion distant from your family. You will continue to be available for get-togethers, holidays, and more as long as they can respect your choice to marry and include your spouse in family-oriented experiences.
3. Introduce your fiancé to your family. Pick a neutral setting such as a restaurant. Set a time limit. Focus on similarities. Maybe it’s the love of a sport or shared hobby. Find a way to participate in the activity as a group. Let your family get to know your intended as a person, not as your gay partner.
4. Make a presentation. Put together a list of your family’s favorite celebrities, historical figures, artists, actors and other noteworthy figures that are gay. They might be more accepting when they realize personalities they admire are “just like you.”5. Give your critical family member a role in your wedding. Skeptics could get more enthused if they feel connected to the ceremony. Create a role. Invite them to speak at the service or make a speech at the reception. Let them greet your guests or hand out confetti or flowers to shower you.
6. Talk to your Human Resources Department. Make sure they are savvy about the laws. Increasingly companies are extending benefits to gay spouses. Find out what your company’s policies are. Update your retirement plans, 401k beneficiary documents, etc.
7. Dealing with a homophobic boss. Arrange a meeting and ask that a member of the staff—your supervisor, or another co-worker—be present to verify the conversation. Explain that gay marriage is now legal in 32 countries and you are within your rights to marry. Tell your boss you are the same competent worker—straight or gay—and that your personal happiness can only inspire a more productive you.
8. Tell the antagonistic foes in your life…or not. You don’t owe anyone an explanation about your life or your love. Feel free to pick and choose with whom you'll share your joy.
9. You’re moving forward with…or without them. Let detractors know you’d love their support. Having them in your life to share the potential joy of grandchildren, vacation time, and outings would be wonderful, but you are going to live the best possible life you can. Let them know there will be seats for them at the service. You've done your best to be inclusive.
10. Explain to all you’re getting ‘married’ not ‘gay married.’ Emphasize that getting married is about your commitment to your partner. It is not about sexual orientation or gender. You’re not planning a ‘gay wedding’ you’re planning a ‘wedding’ –-sanctioned by law--to marry your best friend, the love of your life, and live happily ever after.
Minister Sue suggests one final note to ensure your day is happy and stress-free:
“Finding welcoming vendors is key to ensure your day is joyful. Hire compatible florists, caterers, bakers and a compassionate wedding officiant to perform your service. Their presence will help surround you with a circle of love on your special day," says Minister Sue.