I recently received a wedding invitation from a friend.
I have chosen not to go because his family has shown some homophobia.
I do like this friend very much but I know that if I choose to bring a date (which would be a guy) that it might be a problem.
I don't like the thought of bringing a female as my date just because it is a straight wedding... but I know it might cause problems if I bring a guy.
Of course I won't go there to make a point or to push buttons. I would just bring my date and celebrate his marriage.
Is it wrong to not go?
STRAIGHT GUY RESPONDS:
If the couple and family extend the invitation for you to bring a guest and know that you are gay, then feel free to take them up on that offer. Not to be too blunt here, but does your invite clearly say that you and a "guest" are invited? If not, then don't bring one, gay or straight. Don't kid yourself, weddings are no fun for an outsider, anyway.
If you have the invite, are out to your friends, and are thinking of bringing another dude, then maybe a call to the couple would be a good idea. If uncle Zebadiah will definitely throw a fit when he sees two guys slowdancing to "Careless Whisper," then it's the couple's job to let you know and advise you of your options. But please don't hold it against them if there are any issues. They can't choose their families, or easily change their attitudes.
Your instincts are right. It's not the right moment to take a stand. But that doesn't mean that you can't attend and support your friends. If it's convenient, stay for the ceremony and meal, then skip out before any garter tossing goes awry. Or, if you're having a good time, stay late, have a drink and sing "Last Dance" with Zebadiah. (Yes, your gaydar reading of "protest too much" was correct.)
Caveat: If this is some complicated destination wedding, then you already have plenty of reasons (time, cost, trouble) to back out gracefully. Don't get me started...
Gay Guy was at my wedding, many years ago. He was invited solo and seated at a singles table with some other folks he knew. Lame? Well, I hope he had a good time, anyway. I was glad he was there, but might there have been an issue if he wanted to bring a boyfriend? Not with me, but perhaps with the polka band.
I'm still in debt to GG for also agreeing to attend my bachelor party, which was a shameful farce. Our shenanigans made the morning papers in a less-than-complimentary review. Sad, but true. I'm sure he's glad he didn't try to bring a date to that mess, either.
How 'bout we try to get to national acceptance of gay marriage before we try to make every straight wedding gay-friendly? Long term, I'm optimistic about both.
Go solo and have a good time.
GAY GUY RESPONDS:
"Is it wrong not to go?"
Yes, it is wrong not to go.
Why? It's an honor to be invited to someone's wedding. It is a very special, life-changing day for your friend, who you say you like very much. He is kind to invite you, and you will regret not going. Deciding not to go is one thing if you don't have the vacation days or the money or it's too much travel. But don't stay home for politics' sake.
Your friend didn't get to pick his family, but he did pick you to join him on his special day. He has some idea of what the potential dip in the comfort zone could be. He might even have exerted some real effort against a tide of family pressure in order to make sure you stayed on the invite list.
What's the pressure to bring a date? Bring a friend, male or female, and just have a nice time. And, gay or straight, unless you've been together for a while, weddings are no place to bring a date. Way too much pressure.
What should you do? You've already answered you own question: "Of course I won't go there to make a point or to push buttons. I would just bring my date and celebrate [my friend's] marriage." Ta-dah! That's the answer. You don't need to make out on the dance floor. Not that it's wrong -- it's just not nice to upstage the bride and groom on their big day.
I had a blast at Straight Guy's wedding, especially when everyone hit the dance floor for YMCA!
Your question took me back a few years to a painful incident: One of my best friends from college got married. I knew her family pretty well and had been a guest in their home on many occasions. Despite some pretty conservative values and probably some level of discomfort about homosexuality, they were always extremely kind and generous to me.
At the time of my friend's wedding, I was in a relationship. The wedding invitation came in both our names, not "Gay Guy and Guest," but "Gay Guy and His Gay Guy Partner." Right there on the envelope in my friend's mother's scrawl. Stupid Boyfriend refused to go. Not interested, wouldn't know anyone, blah, blah, blah. I was really hurt, not just because he wouldn't do something I really wanted him to do, but also because I felt like the bride's family had really taken a step forward out of their comfort zone, and that he really rejected that. Upon reflection, I shouldn't hold him accountable for the political angle, only that he wouldn't do something just to make me happy.
Go, go, go to the wedding. Just hide at the bar or in the men's room to avoid the garter toss.