My FI and I are getting married at a California Mission, and we are both Cathloic--but we both strongly believe in marriage equality and want to do something to show our support of it at our wedding. We obviously can't say anything during the ceremony, but we were thinking of wearing white knot bracelets and leaving out a bowl of white knot pins (whiteknot.org) for guests to wear if they want to show their support. Also we were considering including this quote in our program from the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage:
Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support.
Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition.
It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a "civil right." Without the right to choose to marry one is excluded from the full range of human experience.
We wouldn't be "in your face" with any of it. It would all be subtle enough so that those who would appreciate it would understand, and those who wouldn't, shouldn't get offended.
This really means a lot to both of us but our main concern is that we will look like hypocrites trying to send this message after getting married in a Catholic Church, and that it will just be offensive to those whom we are trying to support.
Any opinions or suggestions? Or any other ideas on how to show support for marriage equality at your wedding? I'd appreciate any advice! Thanks!
@Ladycdub: As another Catholic who supports gay marriage, I think the church probably isn't the place to show your support. At the reception, though, I think you would be fine.
DH and I didn't do anything to specifically support gay marriage at our wedding, but we did invite several gay couples, and we did our best to make sure that they felt just as welcomed as any of our other guests.
We are thinking of doing the same (white knot!!), but we aren't getting married in a church. I think the white knots are very understated, and i LOVE the wording. In fact, I may steal your idea.
My only hesitation for you is the church...do you have an open-minded priest doing the ceremony?
If you're getting married in the Catholic church, supporting gay marriage is awesome as far as your personal choice, but I highly doubt that the priest will approve/allow anything that is in blatant contradiction of the church's position.
While I do love our priest, he won't be open to us publicly supporting it during the ceremony, so we'd definitely do the pins at the reception. I just wouldn't want our gay friends and family members (we have a few) to be more offended than touched by the gesture since we just got married in an institution that won't acknowledge their love. Feeling guilty. :(
@Ladycdub: I think this is such a difficult issue in the Church because we're usually seen as homophobic or anti-sex, when that couldn't be farther from the truth. As someone who is deeply Catholic and loves the Church and believes that we are only in the "business of love", I struggle to communicate our teachings on sexuality and marriage while loving my gay family members and friends without being relativistic or compromising on the truth.
I like this article because it captures my struggle very well: http://www.conversiondiary.com/2012/07/a-conversation-with-my-gay-friend.html
Her gay friend asks what is marriage if it's not a commitment. That seems to be what the Supreme Court is saying and yet for Catholics, it's so much more. We believe that marriage is intrinsically related to sexuality and new human life, that it is for the salvation of the spouses and for their children. The Church isn't abitrarily discriminating against gays, like our culture discriminated against racially mixed marriages. Our understanding of sex is rooted in the complementarity of men and women and the communion of the Trinity. If you are marrying in the Church, I hope you spend some time reading and engaging with this long philosophical and theological tradition. I really recommend Pope Paul VI's Humane Vitae, Karol Wojtyla's Love and Responsibility or his Theology of the Body. It's so much more than simply homosexuality, but contraception, love and sacrifice, the cross.
Like she says: “in this view you are constantly having to make sacrifices out of respect for what this act is all about: If you’re totally open to having kids, then there are the sacrifices that come with birth and raising children; if you’re abstaining during fertile times, you’re sacrificing. Infertile couples sacrifice by not using artificial methods like in vitro to force new life into existence. Gay men and women sacrifice by living chaste lives, as do people separated from their spouses, and people who are not yet married, or whose spouse has died. Notice that we’re all sacrificing, and that all of the sacrifices are about the same thing: love and respect for new human life, and specifically the act that creates new human life.”
One of my friends converted to Catholicism from atheism and is gay. He talks about his conversion experience here: http://amcatholic.wordpress.com/2009/07/03/fides-quaerens-intellectum/.
"My very weakness is my spiritual strength. I believe, rather boldly, that homosexual men and women because of their experiences must be incredibly strong creatures, stronger than most. For most of my life, homosexuality was the central barrier to a communion with God. Today, it is one of the primary reasons I talk with Him and apart of embracing the Cross."
I hope that you study the Church's teachings, pray, and talk about this with an orthodox priest. Consider carefully why you are marrying in the Church if your understanding of marriage is so radically different from what the Church teaches. The sacred liturgy is no place to cause scandal or promote heterodoxy.
God bless you.
I think what you are planning to do is an important statement... but probably NOT ONE to be made within the Church (not so much that it might offend a Guest... because as you say I think that most people won't really catch on to the subtle things you have planned)
BUT it does go against the grain of the Teachings of the Roman Catholic Church... so I think you are making too much of a statement in a sacred place (not the best spot to take A Stand) ... especially so when there is also the element of the possibility of offending someone there (like your Priest) and being told that they won't marry you. And if you've read much on WBee you'd see how hard it is sometimes to find an Officiant to marry you... more so if you are looking at Churches or Locations outside of your usual circle / neighbourhood / parish etc
I'd think it therefore best, to keep this all very low key... and more apparent at the Reception. Nothing wrong there with making a very open statement...
Please join us in our support of Marriage for ALL by picking up a White Knot Ribbon and wearing it today and into the future
--- --- ---
BTW, I'm not familiar with White Knot Bracelets... can you tell me more about that aspect (links, pics etc). Any info will be helpful, thanks.
@This Time Round: I think maybe I was unclear... We aren't planning on making any statements during the ceremony at all. White knots would be given out at the reception. My concern, and the point of the post, was for offending guests who cannot marry. I wouldn't want them to feel like they were being patronized. And I don't know if they'd be insulted that we'd be promoting marriage equality right after saying "I do" in a Catholic Church.
I haven't seen white knot bracelets, but I read about it in an article and thought it was neat: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/03/us/standing-up-for-gay-marriage-at-a-straight-wedding.html?emc=eta1
@vanessa7: Thank you for the links and for your concern. However, I am very comfortable with my faith and I do not feel that I need to carefully consider why I am marrying in the Catholic Church.
TO Ladycdub: you said...
I think maybe I was unclear... We aren't planning on making any statements during the ceremony at all
I got that you weren't planning to make any VERBAL Statements... and even if you wanted to you couldn't. In that the Sacrament of Marriage in the Holy Catholic Church is very very specific about what can and cannot be done... and for the most part, all the readings etc must be out of the Holy Scriptures (and pre-approved by the Church).
If you have the Massachusetts Supreme Court Decision printed in your Program (the one handed out at the Church) then you are indeed making a Statement (albeit non-verbal) in a Catholic Church... and I don't think that is appropriate
And as I said, if anyone in the Church took issue with it... you might find yourselves in dire straits with then (would suck not to have a place to marry)
Personally, I think you need to decide that IF you go this route, and make such a statement on your Wedding Day to show support for Gay Marriage, that it should be something that ties in with your Reception and not at your Wedding Ceremony in a Catholic Church (otherwise it really does have a tinge of a back-handed slap on the Church, Parish, Priest, Congregation that is assembled together in this sacred place to perform / RECOGNIZE YOUR MARRIAGE)
And I think this was the Question you raised in your Original Post...
As I said, the Sacrament of Marriage in the Catholic Church is waaay different than other Marriage Ceremonies (beliefs) across the board for Christian Denominations... and either you respect that or you don't... and if you don't then I don't really see the point of getting married there yourselves (and it does seem a bit strange to physically make a statement by DOING ONE THING AT THE WEDDING... Marry in the Catholic Church... and then SAY SOMETHING DIFFERENT at the Reception.. speak out in support of Gay Marriage... when clearly the Catholic Church is one of the largest institutions that is against Gay Marriage)
I hope this post makes my thoughts a tad more clear than the first one...
I agree that a statement made in a program is still a statement.
Are you only including that statement for the sake of your gay friends? That is, if you had no gay friends but still felt the way you do on this issue, would you include it? If the answer is "no" then it might seem a little bit patronizing. Even if the answer is yes, I don't think you should include it because it is making a statement. There is no need to do so.
The white knot idea is pretty awesome, it's low-key and still shows your support. I'm another Catholic who supports the legal institution of marriage being open to gay couples, and I do have gay loved ones who were invited to our wedding. We also had a lot of atheists (a big chunk of my family) and outright anti-Catholics at our wedding. They could choose to come to the ceremony or not. Everyone there was close to us, and they all knew where we stood on things like gay marriage. Everyone there knew that we were Catholic, and so we were getting married in the Catholic Church in a religious ceremony.
None of the many people there who had a problem with the Catholic Church skipped the ceremony (though we did say on our website that due to the distance between the church and the reception, we understood if people could only come to one or the other). No one held it against us that we're Catholic and followed our faith. Everyone who was there loved us and was there to show their love and support.
I suspect the same will be true for your wedding.
Please don't use your wedding as an opportunity to make a political statement. Forget about the religious setting aspect, this is wrong.
It always boggles my mind that so many brides think this is appropriate!
How would you feel if this was reversed, and the bride had a little sign at the reception saying "please take a white knot pin to symbolize the preciousness of marriage between one man and one woman, and the need to protect it every day." How would you feel about the bride and groom? Would you think they were smug and self-righteous?
What do you think guests will think of other guests who they see aren't wearing the pins? Or vice versa?
How would you feel if you go to your seat at a wedding and find they've done a donation favor - and the charity they selected was Focus on the Family? or some other conservative marriage group? Is that appropriate because, after all, it's a wedding? Remember they have the right to their religious and cultural beliefs, and who are you to judge? But you can certainly judge the couple foolish and insensitive for choosing their wedding as a venue for sharing that with others who PROBABLY don't ALL feel the same way.
What if you have guests who support gay marriage but resent being forced to publically make a statement, at a family celebration? You turn a fun coming-together between two families, into a moment of division and tension.
What if you have orthodox Jews, pious Catholics, Muslims, or Buddhists among your guests? Did you know the Dalai Lama doesn't accept gay marriage, and neither do his more serious followers? You're forcing these people to make a loud statement. Either violate religious taboos by wearing the pin, or be "marked" as intolerant in the eyes of other guests. More or less you're embarrassing the guests at your wedding. It's NEVER ok to deliberately embarrass people who came to your wedding to celebrate.
If you choose to do something like that you actively divide your guests: those who take the pins and those who don't.
Plus, believe it or not many gay people tire of being the focus of constant "support" from smug, self-righteous straight people. Another poster said it perfectly: your friends could interpret it as patronizing. I have a friend who is out and proud but who NEVER takes the little do-hickies (one bride had flags saying "I support equality"!) because he prefers to make such disclosures on HIS terms. Or as he said "I would like to attend 1 wedding where my sexuality isn't used for the bride to show off how progressive she is."
What if you have guests who feel passionately either way, and they start an argument?
If you have the slightest bit of true diversity among your guests, this is honestly a VERY rude thing to do. Please don't do it. If you actually care about this issue, come home a day early from your honeymoon and do some volunteering at a pro-gay marriage organization. That would be a meaningful and selfless action to take, as opposed to rude and self-righteous.
If you are worried about how your gay friends will feel, talk to them.
@Magdalena: I think this is a brilliant post
With regards to pins (i know the OP mentioned bracelets but pins are a similar thing), i dont pin things to my clothes period. Could be the best cause in the world, but i dont buy extremely expensive clothes for formal events to then poke at them with pins. And i would feel judged for not wearing them.
@Magdalena: +10000 You basically said everything I wanted to say.
I think people are being a little harsh. There is nothing wrong with being Catholic and being pro-marriage equality. It's different from pledging support to Focus on the Family, which is a hate group- not an apt comparison.
I think having the white knots is a nice idea.
As a side bar, I think the Catholic Church needs to move past its hateful views on homosexuality. As my (Catholic) priest said, who are a bunch of "celibates in Rome" to make judgements on our sex lives? The legality of gay marriage does not mean that the Church must marry gay people. I think it's a sin to withhold charitable funding and using that as a threat against gay marriage, as the Church has done in several jurisdictions.
Magdalena: ---> THIS
In my original train of thought I was focussing on the Catholic Ceremony aspect... but now I totally agree with this poster, that really a Wedding IS NOT the correct place to make a political statement...
Primarily because it is a time to "bring together" people from two different families for a "Joyous Celebraton" ... (and more often than not, folks who will come from a wide range of belief systems on a large span of subjects)
And as other posters have rightfully pointed out, especially in light of the fact that there are indeed so many other ways that one could make a pro-active "action" in just one's day-to-day lives to support Marriage Equality (one doesn't need a SPECIAL EVENT to do so)
TO mathlete7: interesting reply. In one breath you call Focus on the Family a hate group, and in the next you slam the Catholic Church for their "hateful" beliefs.
I think you somehow missed the whole "essence / spirit" of this topic... which was how to be loving, supportive and non-judgemental of those who have different beliefs.
That is what I believe the OP was most concerned about ... whether to do something low key or not at all.
@This Time Round: The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled Focus on the Family a hate-group. My point in saying that was that a PP had compared supporting gay marriage in the program to having the charity supported by the wedding Focus on the Family. To me, that's not an appropriate comparison, giving the fact that Focus on the Family is labeled a hate group. Does that make sense to you?
I understand what the OP was saying, which is why I said that I thought the white knots were a nice, understated, symbolic idea. Maybe you missed that.
I do feel that the official Catholic teachings on homosexuality are hateful and damaging, and go against what the majority of Catholics believe. The majority of Catholics in America support marriage equality. When the Church actively campaigns against it, spending money that could be used for schools and charity work, I think it's disheartening. I was not trying to threadjack but merely wanted to express my frustration that there are so many Catholics (myself included) who are pro-marriage equality when the Church is not. I've seen so many Catholic brides, here and elsewhere, expressing this.
@mathlete7: See Mother Teresa was against gay marriage... would she qualify as a "hater" too in the eyes of the Southern Poverty Law Center? Would the Missionaries of Charity that she founded be considered a hate group?
If you travel the world and educate yourself about different religions and cultures, you'll realize it's a shame to label as "hateful" people who simply have different beliefs about sexuality and sexual behavior. The definition of marriage is elastic. If you grew up in the US, you grew up in a society that fetishizes consent (as you might expect in a democracy where rulers govern with the consent of the governed). Our whole political system and most of our national myths are based on the concept of consent.
Therefore to many Americans and other Westerners, the only "bad" sex is unconsensual sex. As long as it's between consenting adults, there's no problem (and the adult part is only thrown in there because we have an arbitrary "age of consent" in our legal system).
And it follows that many people who belong to this cultural group also think if people can legally have sex, they should be legally allowed to marry. Legal, consensual sex = legal marriage, am I right?
But other cultures and religions have different ways of evaluating sexual conduct. Some are stricter (extensive incest taboos). In others, there are almost no incest taboos and sons are expected to marry their stepmothers if their fathers die. In others, extramarital sexual conduct is loosely regulated but marriage as an institution has a very rigid legal definition.
Guess what? Your beliefs are not automatically "better" because they are Western or American. They are not "better" because they are secular. They are not "better" because they are less strict. Your culture is not superior. The attitudes about sex and legal marriage you've learned from that culture, are not superior.
It's an important part of being a global citizen to recognize the validity of all these different points of view about marriage. And that's why for OP, if she has a diverse guest list, it would probably be unwise and thoughtless to use her wedding as a soapbox for proclaiming that the western liberalized way is the ONLY way. Unless she wants to send the message that guests who share her cultural understanding of marriage are more valued, loved and welcomed than others.
All I can say about organizations like the SPLC is that when you point the finger at people who are different than you and shriek "BIGOTED HATE THING!" four fingers are pointing right back at them.
This just rubs me the wrong way. Your heart is in the right place, it seems, but I don't think it will be received well especially by the couples who cannot marry. It's almost as if you feel a bit guilty marrying in the church and this is a way to ease that guilt.
While I'm not loving some of the attacks and name calling going on in here, I do appreciate some of the comments and think some good points have been made--especially regarding the pins. I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable, but this still means a lot to us and we do want to make some sort of a gesture to show our support, so I think my FI and I will wear white knot bracelets, and we will frame/post the Massachusetts court quote somewhere at the reception. And that is all--subtle enough that it can almost go unnoticed and no one should get upset or offended, but we are still staying true to ourselves by supporting a cause we think is very important.
By the way, @Magdalena: I posted my topic seeking advice, fully aware that it was a touchy subject and probably needed some figuring out, so there was no need to attack me and call me "rude and self-righteous," especially when I'm reaching out for help and am only trying to do something good.
We considered adding a pro-life intention to our special intentions. It's definitely in line with how the Catholic Church feels, and my FI and I actually met on a pro-life message board. It's probably the most important issue for both of us. In the end, we decided against it for some of the same reasons people are advising you not to bring gay marriage into focus.
I'm not telling you that you can't or shouldn't include this, especially since you are doing it so discretely, but please be aware that even the quote might cause an issue. You may find that you alienate or polarize guests, or that people start arguing amongst themselves (for example, if my mom and I were together at a wedding, it would spark the legal-gay-marriage debate and we'd probably both be angry at each other for a few days). It's just something to be aware of.
But, if it's worth the risk to you, I think you're being pretty respectful about not throwing it in peoples' faces while still showing support.
Wow, politics and theology aside, here's one thing that we did to make our Catholic wedding as gay-friendly as we could (my brother is gay, and he and his partner were there to support us -- we wanted to do the same for them): we picked readings that were about commitment, devotion, and love without any explicit references to the roles of wives, husbands, women, or men. Surprisingly hard to do given the short list of recommended readings.
@Ladycdub: I want to apologize for what has turned into a threadjack- that was truly not my intention in replying to your OP. I am really glad that you have found a way to support marriage equality in your wedding ceremony that you feel comfortable with. In our Mass, we worded our Prayers of the Faithful in an inclusive manner, and no one mentioned any controversial feelings about it.
@Magdelena, I am not going to engage in any more discussion with you on this topic, because you are purposely using straw man arguments to prove what you think is your point. However, please know that I would not label someone who doesn't support marriage equality as hateful. What I believe is hateful is actively working against legal marriage equality, as the Church has done in the US. In Washington, DC, when marriage equality was before the Council, the Archdiocese threatened to pull all funding for homeless charities in the city if the measure passed. I feel frustrated when the good works that the Church does are threatened by this sort of petty politicking.
Further, please don't lecture me on being a global citizen- my parents come from non-Western countries, so I do understand a non-Western point of view. Catholicism is a Western religion, and the OP is getting married in California. At no point was non-Western points of view in the discussion, until you decided to bring it in. I have personally never heard a reason to be against marriage equality that is not bigoted. (And, Mother Theresa was of a different place and time- so again, this is a simplistic straw man argument.) Regardless, this is all against the spirit of the original post, so, I am ended this discussion with you.
i like the white knot idea because the guests can choose whether or not i take one. but personally i would keep politics out of a wedding- the day is supposed to revolve around you and your future husband and you don't need people getting offended. i mean you are going to be in a catholic church, you know there will be people that get a little upset over it. i applaud you for wanting to show yor support, i just don't think it's the right time or place.
Cut the ends diagonally or cut triangles in them to help prevent fraying.
Tie a knot in the center of the ribbon. Even out the ends as you pull tight.
Tie another knot over the first knot and pull the ends of the ribbon to flatten them out.
Pin it on vertically and you're good to go.
Here is the link: http://whiteknot.org/making.html
@Ladycdub: OP I sincerely apologize if my post came off as calling you names :( I meant to indicate that dividing hypothetical guests at a hypothetical wedding is rude. I do not think you are a rude person at ALL as evidenced by you making this post! Obviously your guests are at the forefront of your mind and you are a very thoughtful person.
You must log in to post.
Shop Now »