This post is a part of our Real and Raw series.
Aunt #1: “I heard they chose green and lavender as their colors.”
Aunt #2: “Where are they registered?”
As we sat around the kitchen, the ladies in my husband’s extended family chatted about a family member’s upcoming nuptials. I nervously shifted in my chair and hoped someone would steer the conversation to another topic…any topic.
Cousin #1: “It’s going to be beautiful.”
Cousin #2: “I hope we get invited!”
Me: More squirming, a nervous smile, and another sip of coffee.
For several years, a member of our family has brought his boyfriend to holidays and family events. They are delightful people; we love them both and enjoy spending time with them. A few months ago they became engaged. Although nearly every member of the extended family tree claims a Catholic identity, as far as I can tell, our little family we will be the only branch that chooses not to attend the “wedding.”
No, my husband and I don’t “hate” the grooms. In fact, hate has nothing to do with it; this decision is entirely about love.
Because I love the grooms, I can’t lend my presence – and therefore, my support – to something that I know is harmful to them; my conscience cannot allow it. The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reminds us, “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and can in no case be approved of” (Persona Humana, Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics, VIII).
Further, because I love my children, I can’t join with our culture in normalizing disordered sexual practices. God has entrusted my children to my husband and me as their primary educators in both life and faith. Jesus said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” (Mark 9:42 NABRE).
Finally, because I love the Lord, I must choose to worship Him over my self-constructed altar of family harmony. This is the hardest part for me. My greatest fear is that our branch will be cut from the family tree, and viewed as “bigots.” Still, I must remember that following Christ is not always easy or without conflict. Again, Jesus’ words are difficult, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me…and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:37-39).
In my flesh, I want to attend this event. To celebrate with people I love, to remain in peace with our family. But my conscience calls me to true love, to make the difficult decision not to participate.
I truly love the grooms, and I pray for them often. I humbly ask that you pray for our family during this trying time. And please, pray for our nation, that our hearts may be turned back to God, and our families healed.
An Initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
A ministry to men and women who experience same-sex attractions and those who love them.