I’m Going to Gay Wedding Today

This weekend Brenda and I are going to a wedding in Iowa … for a friend of ours who is getting legally married to his husband.

We go because this is another way to tangibly show our love in unique ways to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Here is my reasoning why.

What do you think about going to gay marriages? Have you ever gone before – why or why not?

Let the discussion begin.

Much love.

www.themarinfoundation.org

About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation (www.themarinfoundation.org). He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).

  • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

    Honestly?

    I’m happy to go to Civil Partnerships of non-Christian friends here in the UK, but I have turned down doing similar for Christian friends. I guess since I believe that Christians shouldn’t enter into sexual relationships outside of marriage that’s where the line of my integrity lies.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    It’s actually my wedding that Andrew and Brenda are coming to later today. We were married at our church back in 1997, but without the legal recognition of the state. Since marriage equality is now legal in Iowa, we’re having a second ceremony to make our marriage officially a marriage under state law.

    We originally thought about having a simple civil ceremony instead of a church wedding because that’s really the only thing that’s changed in our relationship and to communicate to our guests that this wedding was about marital rights, not marital rites. But ultimately everyone seemed to want a church wedding for us and the building’s free to us since I’m a church member. I’ll try posting video footage of the ceremony on my own blog next week, assuming that it turns out well.

    It’ll be nice to have family at this ceremony. Last time, it was just us and a bunch of local friends and co-workers. Mark wasn’t out yet and my dad certainly wasn’t going to come. Twelve years later, we’ve got the boys and both of our family’s are more comfortable with our relationship. I’ve no clue if they agree with it, but most of them honor our relationship enough to come.

    Well, I’m off to the church to finish with the set-up. Please be kind with the comments. :)

  • http://wordthunder.com SarahM

    I know gay couples who have been committed to each other for 20+ years. After being married so long myself, I know that commitment, well it takes commitment. Yes, if my friends wished to marry I would certainly go to the ceremony without hesitation.

    After being married for so long, the most important dynamic of our relationship is trust. I know that no matter what happens I can go to my husband and trust him with absolutely anything. He is my best friend. I wonder if we would have reached this point if we had not been married, merely shared a home. In any long-term relationship there are so many times when one just wants to walk away. it doesn’t seem worth the struggle. Then things work themselves out and you are looking across the breakfast table at the person you trust most in this world. I wouldn’t deny that to any couple.

  • Bryan

    I guess I’ll be the voice of dissent. One of the reasons you go to a wedding is to be a witness and to “stand with” the couple in support of what they are doing before God and others. I can’t in good conscience do that at a gay wedding, even though I may love the two individuals with all my heart. I don’t limit this sentiment to gay weddings…there are certainly some hetero weddings I wouldn’t feel right about affirming and giving my silent witness to either.

  • http://lbcarizona.wordpress.com linda anne

    As a friend to a gay couple such as this, if I choose to not attend the wedding for some of the reasons already stated in the comments, are there other ways that I can show tangible love to these friends? It seems to me that my refusal to go might make such a bold (cold?) statement, that further efforts at tangible, real, authentic love may seem empty or false. Does a refusal to go handicap my efforts of being a friend? Building a bridge? Or not?

  • Mrs T

    Much love to you, Jon.
    Andrew, please make sure there is a link to the video of the ceremony.
    Drive safely in all this dangerous weather!

  • http://dontoverthinkit.wordpress.com/ Josh

    One of my good friends is getting married in Iowa later this year to his fiancee, but having the ceremony somewhere else. I can’t wait to go!!!

  • http://dannyjbixby.blogspot.com Danny

    @ Andrew, I don’t really like weddings, but hope you have a good time. I’ve never gone to a gay marriage ceremony…but oh well.

    @ Jon, congrats on your wedding! Even though as you say the only thing changing is state recognition…still, hope you have a great ceremony.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    Linda: Not everyone who’s invited to a wedding can actually attend the wedding, for whatever reason. Why not simply send them a card wishing them well?

  • Kirk

    I have read and re-read the New Testament many times, studied it in college and seminary, etc. I cannot find any indication that either individual Christians or the Church are called to the task of judgement. I do find that we are called to love — again, and again, and again. There are serious, biblically sound perspectives, supported by good scholarship on both sides of the debate (as to whether or not God approves of homosexuality). Especially when the issue is unclear and is not given central prominence in the teaching of Jesus or the Early Church, I believe strongly that we must err on the side of love. Pretending that we “can’t go” and sending a card or gift instead is not love. “Protesting” by not attending will not change what happens, but it will be hurtful. That also is not love. John could not be more clear: “Beloved, let us love one another, for everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” Jesus teaching and example not only calls us to love those who are marginalized by society, but to eat, drink and feast with them. Furthermore, Jesus and Paul both warn against judgement. There is strong evidence that homosexuality is not a choice but a biological reality that some persons are born with and cannot change. If there is even a glimmer of possibility that this may be the case, it is individual and church which will be “under judgement” for the sad and sorry history of treating persons with homosexual orientations as outcasts. Let us move forward as believers, as churches and as the universal Church with confidence that Jesus words are true: Perfect Love casts out fear.

    • http://www.truthwinsout.org Chris Marshall

      Thank you for posting about the scientific evidence that has been frustratingly ignored for far to long on the account of upholding scripture (essence) far above that of scientific data (existence). Hopefully in time, as with the case of gender, ethnicity, and race, the churches will once again understand that if they dont change they will inevitably be ostracized out of society.

  • http://timothykurek.wordpress.com Tim

    This Spring I’m going to be a bridesmaid in a lesbian wedding. I can’t wait to support my friend. And I will not be wearing a dress, but then again neither would anyone else in the wedding party, so thats good.

    I can’t wait. Bridget is my friend after all and no matter what differences we have in our beliefs, I’m participating for her.

  • http://timothykurek.wordpress.com Tim

    P.S. Bryan that’s valid, but even as a conservative Christian I choose to stand with them while they commit themselves to one another. I understand your point though.

  • Darryn

    When I click on the link “Here is my reasoning why” it takes me to this page. What am I doing wrong???? I want to read it!

    Kirk, you are dead on bro. I could not agree with you more.

    Congrats on the wedding Jon.

    Darryn

  • http://lbcarizona.wordpress.com linda anne

    Jon: I think sending a card and/or a gift are entirely appropriate actions for invited guests who aren’t able to make the ceremony – and legit ways to show your care and friendship. But to refuse to attend in order to make a point is a different story. I’m not saying that there are no other ways to be a good friend if schedules or geography make it difficult to go, I’m just suggesting that it’s a shame to waste this chance to be real, to support those you love.

    Congratulations on your wedding. Enjoy a beautiful ceremony with those you love.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    I’m sorry, Linda. I misunderstood what you were communicating with your original comment. I still think that there’s no foul for folks to send a quick note wishing the best for friends or family who invited (generic) you to a wedding that you don’t support. I mean, the relationship will carry on with or without any particular guest. It’s one thing to not want to witness the wedding, it’s another thing to totally ignore someone who obviously cares enough about you to include you to one of their most significant days.

    BTW, thanks to everyone who offered well-wishes! :)

  • http://www.xanga.com/djfree Darren

    Andy, you’re a brave man! Seriously, I applaud you! Care to come to my wedding? We’d love to have you! ;)

    Jon, CONGRATULATIONS!! So happy for you, and for the great company you’ll have at such a momentous occasion! YAY IOWA! :D

  • http://www.xanga.com/djfree Darren

    Oh, and I second the other “Darryn” here (not the spelling difference . . . we’re not the same guy!) . . . but I can’t find your “reasoning” either! Please fix the link! I would like to send it to some folks!

  • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

    Darryn and Darren – The original link I meant to put was here:

    http://www.loveisanorientation.com/2009/follow-up-to-scot-mcknight%e2%80%99s-post%e2%80%94part-2-2/

    It was a post from earlier this year, and it gives a more thorough explanation of what I see as the difference between validation and affirmation. The short explanation of why I went to the wedding are the following reasons:

    1. I really do love Jon and appriciate his friendship a great deal. I was humbled and honored he invited Brenda and I.

    2. Going to gay weddings are another way that I try to intentionally show my version of love: “tangible expressions of unconditional behaviors.”

    3. There is a difference between validation and affirmation (this is explained in the link above). I can validate someone else’s experiences as legitimate to their story, experience, life, etc; and that doesn’t mean that I have to agree/believe in all the same stuff theologically/scientifically/socially.

    4. Marriage today is a legal document that gives people rights that non-married people can’t have. There is a separation between chruch and state, and marriage should also be included in that separation, even though it’s not. Here’s my thought (which I will expound upon in an upcoming Gay Marriage Series I will be starting soon):

    I think that all couples (gay/straight) should have to go to a courthouse to be legally married – in order to get the tax breaks, visitations, insurance, etc; you know, all the legal stuff. Then, it is up to each individual church to marry whomever they see fit to be married. But the church ceremony is just that, a ceremony in a church that holds no legal ramifications, but a time with family and friends before God.

    And, I had such a great time at Jon’s wedding getting to hang with his family and friends on his day. It was an honor for me to be there.

  • Kenny

    Jon, congratulations on your wedding. I hope it was a joyful time with friends and family.

    I work for a ministry and get a lot of calls from people asking what to do when asked to attend a gay or lesbian wedding. My response is always, “why would you not?” Do you love the people involved? Do they have meaning? Are they not all God’s children?

    My reasoning comes from experiencing living in the gay and lesbian, bi, transgendered community as gay identified. Having been in a long term gay relationship that did not work out, legally, our separation was rather difficult and it would probably have been easier on the break up if we had been legally married. Though, I am not gay identified now, and am married to a woman and hold conservative theological views, my love and embrace for those who identify as glbt does not change. Who am I to say how anyone lives?

    My one caution I guess has always been the respect of a church leader who may choose to not perform a ceremony for a couple wanting to get married. I am afraid of these leaders being charged with human rights violations etc, because they opt not to marry due to the policies set before them.

    I agree with your last statement Andrew specifically the second last paragraph.

    Great blog, and I can’t wait to read your book.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    Kenny: Why would a pastor be brought up for human rights violations for not marrying a gay couple? Churches have always been able to set wedding policies. Why would this change now?

    To belabor this point: Are Catholic priests able to refuse to marry Jewish couples now? Are they able to refuse to marry a couple where one of the pair was previously divorced? How about non Catholics in general?

    Also, marriage equality has now been legal in the USA in at least one state for six or so years. Have there been any cases of pastors or churches brought up for human rights violations for refusing to marry a gay couple? No. Have there ever been any churches brought up for refusing to perform commitment ceremonies here in the USA? No.

    The closest argument you could point to is one complaint filed in New Jersey a few years back against a Methodist group that received special tax breaks for operating a beach-front wedding site that was contingent on it being open to the public. They gave up those special breaks and the dilema was fixed. No more gay weddings at that site.

  • ben

    I am curious if I am showing love by going to witness an abomination then will it matter if I go to a strip club with friends so I can show love and acceptence of their behavior. Does it matter if I go watch some sinner friend bar get drunk and hit on chicks. Do I support sin or make a stand against. Jesus said go and sin no more. Come out and be separate from the world. I work with hs on a weekly basis and I have friends and relatives that God has given victory over this. We loved them by standing up for His word. The good news is Andrew you can do what you want it doesn’t mean its biblical. It seems today we make the Word conform to us instead of us comforming to It.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    Ben: I’ve debated whether or not to respond to your post. Please keep in mind that I’m responding mainly in bemusement, not sadness nor outrage. I understand people being against gay couples becoming legally married. I don’t agree with it, but I understand where they’re coming from.

    But seriously, look at what you’re comparing my wedding to: a strip club and a bar. I can assure you that there was no drunken, wanton behavior at my wedding. There were no strippers. There were no dancing poles or go-go dancers or closed circuit videos or drag performers or anything like that.

    This is the disconnect that I really don’t get. There is no real comparison between what you compare us to and what actually happened. A celebration of our family (and you can read about it here: http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/2010/01/wedding-reflections.html) automatically gets reduced to orgiastic, non-existant elements. Maybe this is why the GLBT community doesn’t generally connect or take seriously the conservative Christian community. We recognize the falsehoods that we’re accused of.

    BTW, what’s “hs”?

  • JHing

    The only weddings or union ceremonies I’ve been to over the past 25 years have been lesbian and gay ceremonies. And I had the great pleasure of meeting the man who performed the first gay wedding in California in 1969. Nothing new under the sun.

  • http://www.LifeWalk.info David Foreman

    Andrew, the “here’s the reason why” link in your “I’m Going To A Gay Wedding” article seems to just circle back to where I came from, and never go to the reason. Could you check the link.
    Thanks,
    dave

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten
  • sarah

    well first i must congratulate you jon on your wedding, congrats!
    and secondly i must put my input on the gay wedding subject. as a bi-sexual woman i am all for marriages of any kind, as long as two adults consent to it. but i understand that some religious parties are not for gay marriage. i myself am a buddhist who grew up in a catholic household, who when discovering i was gay was none too happy. they asked me if i was a virgin, if i should be tested for aids, will i have kids, what will i do about marriage. i answered them honestly that i was a virgin, i already was checked and negative, i dont want children and if i get married its only to show my love for my girlfriend and make sure shes taken care of and educated them in my beliefs. i understand that most religions dont want gay marriage, im fine with that, they dont have to recognize my marriage. i would like people in general to respect the fact that i dont believe homosexuality to be a sin as i am not christian, which i know someone will probably hound me for not believing. im sorry but its not my belief sytem. i do respect my mothers household, i wont hold my girlfriends hand, or kiss her in front of them. but i only do so because i love my mother. my family loves my girlfriend and wants to be present for our wedding, and weve also set up to have a double bachelorette party that will in no way have strippers or anything sexual. and for our wedding were having a traditional japanese wedding. i just wish that all couples may be recognized lawfully by the government. if the churches do not want to recognize gay marriage, thats ok, thats their belief, but everyone should have the right to marry who they want without guilt of religion. dont get me wrong, i have really nothing against religion, it can be wonderful to people, but making one group of people unhappy because another group dislikes it, isnt fair. but please if your friends or relatives or even people you dont know dont believe the way you do, go ahead and voice your opinion, just dont guilt them.tell them how you feel but dont press it, especially if they have another religious choice, and love them anyways. and as they say, true love conquers all.

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  • Steven

    There’ll be no problem at my wedding because we won’t be inviting anyone who doesn’t fully support it.

    The lady agonizing over accepting an invitation to a gay wedding should perhaps ask herself whether she’ll be invited to one in the first place. Why would we want someone at our wedding who didn’t fully support us? What possible inducement could there be to have people looking on who condemned our marriage as sinful?

    I’ve been through this with my family. I have three sisters, two of whom entirely support my right to marry the man I love. They’ll be at our wedding. My third sister tolerates my partner’s presence but views our relationship as sinful. She will not be at our wedding. I don’t want her there ruining our big day with a plastic smile and fake congratulations.

    For me it’s quite clear cut. Those who truly support my relationship with my partner are real friends. Those who do not are not. And on my wedding day, I only want real friends around me. Those who want to de-gay me or who’d prefer me to stumble through life alone and lonely to satisfy their moral imperatives are NOT real friends. So they won’t be getting invitations.

    So my question to those who view gay weddings as sinful is this: why are you so sure you’ll be invited in the first place? I wouldn’t want you within a hundred yards of my wedding so if by some bizarre oversight you found yourself in receipt of an invitation, you’d be doing us all a favour if you declined it.

    Regards

    Steven


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