Post # 1
I need to know if i’m overreacting here….
I asked one of my best friends, whom I’ve known for fifteen years, to be an usher in the wedding about two months ago. Well, we’re at dinner a couple of weeks later and he said he had forgotten about it. (Really? How do you forget something like that?) So, we talked about it some more and I told him he didnt’ need to get a tux like the other groomsmen- a suit would be fine. Well, he doesn’t have a suit (works for a non-profit doesn’t really need one). Also, I had invited him to the Bachelorette party (he’s one of *my* closest friends and is gay, so I thought he could hang with that. Then he said which one I’d rather him do: usher or Bachelorette party because the costs started to add up. I absolutely understand how being a part of a wedding can cost $$ but I also didn’t just take recent trips to New York, Seattle, and talking about a trip to Tokyo in the fall.
Last week, we were on the phone and he said that he just didn’t think he wanted to be an usher because, 1., expense, 2., feelings of anxiety (has had panic attacks in the past), 3., his feelings about marriage anyway (He feels like there would be people there that voted against gay marriage. Needless to say, I was REALLY disappointed. I understand but I’m asking him to be a part of the wedding and this is a very small wedding party. We went to dinner last night, and after a couple of glasses of wine, I laid into him a bit.
Do you think I’m overreacting, should just let it go or do you think I have a reason to be upset?
Post # 3
cant force someone, think in his shoes
Post # 4
Yea. You asked, he said no, and he has some legitimate reasons. I think you just have to let this go and just enjoy him at the wedding as a guest.
Post # 5
Oh that sucks, and I can totally understand your disapointment, but in the end it is his choice, and you’re porbably better off without the stress of relying on an usher who doesn’t really want to be in that role. 🙁 Hopefully he will still come as a guest and you can have a great time together that way!
Post # 6
I have a number of gay friends and when I’ve specifically asked them about attending weddings, they’ve all said that it’s really hard. I can’t imagine how I would feel celebrating others’ joy at a wedding if the same right were denied to me. I think he has legitimate reasons and he’s not trying to hurt your feelings, as hurt as they are. I don’t know what your guest list is like, but he is afraid that a number of people at your wedding won’t like him for *who he is,* a quality he can’t change. Moreover, that a number of people actually voted to deny him rights. That’s a really strong statement against him as a human being. I would try to understand how difficult that could be. I think the cost issue is something he brought up to bolster his point and distract slightly from the other points.
One thing we’re doing at our wedding is reminding people that marriage equality is a pressing issue. We hung marriage equality signs at our engagement party and plan on including white knots in either our invitations or favors. http://www.whiteknot.org/ A wedding is a wonderful time to remind people how important it is that everyone be allowed to marry.
Post # 7
Since no one has commented on the panic attack aspect of what he said, I wanted to chime in and say this can be a BIG deal! My cousin has had to deal with these and the anxiety behind being in a situation that you know might trigger one is huge. So even if he has only had a few, I think this may be pretty significant for him, maybe more so than he wants to let on. Paired with the gay marriage issue, I can see how it would be hard for him.
That said, it doesn’t sound like he dealt with this very well. Giving you a vague, "Oh, huh, I forgot" and then kind of dilly-dallying before finally saying "Nah, I don’t think so" is not the way to go about telling someone that you can’t be in the wedding party. I personally think he should have treated the issue with a more serious attitude and taken the time to deliver a sincere explanation as soon as he knew he was having doubts. The fact that he didn’t probably has nothing to do with you, though, it was probably just him pushing aside his conflict on the topic.
Post # 8
I feel for you because I don’t know what I would do if my best friend decided not to be in my wedding. I do agree though you can’t force him. Try not to take it personal because he does have ligit reasons. It’s a tough time right now for them and I know that if my best friend did decide to pull out of the wedding I couldn’t really blame him. Just enjoy his company at the wedding and make sure to take lots of pictures with him.
Post # 9
I’m gay and having a "wedding" in November in Cali. but it won’t be legal. In no way should you undermine his feelings on the whole thing…to be honest, a lot of my peers have stopped attending weddings ever since the whole Prop 8 thing went through.
How would you feel if you were the one being invited to this huge life event in which you can’t participate yourself? It does hurt. A lot. It’s been difficult for my partner and I to pay for all of these vendors and go through with it knowning that at the end of the day our marriage still won’t be recognized legally. I think that you should be honored that he will attend as a guest and leave it to that.
Also…if he is one of your very closest friends why has he been assigned to usher? Why can’t he stand at the front with you? I mean, I’m sure his anxiety issues wouldn’t allow that but maybe being offered THAT position in particular hurt his feelings.
There is this well known idea about weddings that ushers, cake cutters and guest book attendants are kind of the throw away jobs (whether it’s true or not)…
Post # 10
I would let the issue go, seeing that it is a sensitive issue to him that maybe his attendance is the best you can ask for.
Now, I have a few questions (and they are purely to answer some of my own ignorance, not to start a battle of opinions, so please don’t think I’m trying to be insensitive), but for me, I don’t REALLY see marriage as a legal right, because I am quite religious (& Catholic) I look at it as a sacrament of matrimony. I guess you could say I’m indifferent. For me, however, I would see someone refusing to attend another’s wedding as an insult. I UNDERSTAND what their argument is, however it isn’t the married person’s fault that the law is how it is. I know there are some legal rights that you get from marriage, however I would be getting married whether or not these rights existed. Hmmm.. Could someone put this in perspective for me?
Post # 11
Well, I certainly don’t view his being an usher as a throwaway job. In fact, there are only two people in the wedding who aren’t family members, the other roles are all filled by family. He’s told me he doesn’t want to be up there with the wedding party because of all the testosterone. Weddings aren’t his thing I get it. But at one point, though, do you say I can put aside my feelings for a moment to support my friend. I’m very much in support of gay marriage, voted no on 8, worked for GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) here in San Francisco, and have plenty of friends who are gay and lesbian. He was in another friend’s wedding, and although he didn’t say anything, she felt like he was really unhappy about it. I didn’t realize this until just recently.
I appreciate all the feedback and the bottom line is appreciate the fact that he’s coming. Well, I most definitely will.
*Cheerful, that’s a great idea for your wedding. It’s been a pretty big week here in SF with the 8 ruling from the Supreme Court.
Post # 12
Yep, we’re in California too. It’s been a hard week!
I agree with you that there is a difference between a church-ordained sacrament of marriage and a government issued contract of marriage. The problem we’re having is that both institutions, the church and the state, use the same term. If the state allows all of its citizens to marry, this will not affect church marriages. I’m not Catholic and even though I’m straight, the Catholic Church would never let me get married in a Catholic church! I take no offense at this, since I’m obviously not a member of the faith. Religious institutions have the right to place whatever strictures they wish on their congregations.
The problem is when the state discriminates between groups of citizens. My parents were of different races and were faced with a form to fill out with "black" and "white" as available boxes to check. My Chinese father posed a huge problem for the bureaucrats. They eventually decided, yes this is true, that because he wasn’t black, he was white. Thus, my parents were allowed to marry. Marriage, a partnership between two people, is a very useful way to organize society. It is beneficial to the state to recognize these unions, for census purposes, medical purposes, etc. And surely we’re all aware of the health benefits of marriage for married couples, right? 🙂
I personally don’t have a problem if the state decides all such unions are to be called "domestic partnerships" or "civil unions." It is unfair to single out an unpopular minority for separate and unequal treatment. It is not merely a matter of nomenclature. It is clearly recognized that a ‘civil union’ is of lesser status than a ‘marriage.’ This argument is made by both sides of the debate. A useful reading on this subject would be the documents in Brown vs. the Board of Education in which the US Supreme Court decided ‘separate but equal’ was inherently unequal. Black school children were asked to describe white dolls and black dolls and through the forced segregation of the schools, the children had already internalized the negative messages about themselves. There is so much discrimination against our gay citizens and the result is highly elevated levels of depression and suicide. Children learn the messages of intolerance from their parents and it leads to the horrifyingly sad tragedies in California where young, pre-adolescent children have been killed by other pre-adolescent children because of ‘gay’ tauntings and rumors. I believe these must be prevented by truly treating all citizens as equal – that means respecting them as equal. To have the supposed benefits of marriage (contrary to popular belief, a civil union will not get you all the benefits of marriage including hospital visitation and visas for foreign spouses) without the respect of the equal term ‘marriage’ denies equality to gay citizens.
I hope this makes sense.
Post # 13
cheerful — yes! that was VERY helpful and well put. I understand it a little more now that I see those arguments. I apologize as I am cleary ignorant on the subject!
Post # 14
That was so SO well put and appreciated on my part.
I grew up Catholic, as did Vanessa. Of course it’s not an option for us to marry in the church in which we were raised, nor would we want to since we aren’t welcome.
We would never want a ceremony in a church that is against who we are and how we live and love. Though it is becoming more widely accepted and allowed in certain sects, the majority of same-sex couples are not asking to be married in a church. It’s not the religious aspect that we are fighting for. As human beings, as taxpaying citizens of this country we are entitled to the same rights as our heterosexual counterparts. I would like to think that if something happened to me, if I were hit by a car the day after our November 7th wedding, Vanessa would be recognized to the full extent of the law as my spouse. I would want her protected and respected in the same way that any of your husbands/wives will be.
I pay into social security, I voted YES in a local millage election, I volunteer at the local homeless shelter. My money, vote and help is welcome by our country but still I remain second rate.
It’s scary, it really is. I’m not playing a little harp for myself but it’s definitely a difficult situation.
We are a gay couple living in Northwest Arkansas. We relocated our wedding to Newport Beach, California (before Prop 8 passed) because we didn’t want our service picketed. We don’t deserve for one of the happiest days of our life to be ruined by discrimination, intolerance and blatant hatred. I contacted local (Arkansas) vendors, willing to give them a great deal of money, and was turned down because we are both women.
I’m a girl like the rest of you. I’ve been dreaming about this day since I was seven years old. I stock up on bridal magazines, hyperventilate over invitation mistakes and agonize over fondant. My "groom" won’t be waiting for me at the end of the aisle in a tux but that doesn’t change the love that we share or the vision that I have.
Post # 15
That is really heartbreaking. I don’t know what else to say! Bravo to you for continuing with the ceremony and knowing that it means marriage to you, if not to the government.
Not to get way off topic here, but don’t a couple of states recognize same sex marriage now? Maine and Massachusetts, I believe? Would it be an option for you to do the ceremony in California and then the legal union in one of those states? I don’t know the technicalities, i.e., if you have to be a citizen of that state or if it’s not recognized outside of that state.
Post # 16
Sorry if I changed the whole tone of this post…
It is legal in a few states actually. Mass, Iowa, Vermont, Ohio…a few states recognize unions as legal from other states (like New York) but not many.
Arkansas (where we work and go to school) absolutely doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages so until we’re able to move outta here (after school) we’re a bit stuck.