What Would You Do?

In a Dear Abby column this morning, our favorite advice doling maven(s) took on the issue of gay marriage with an interesting twist.  I don’t quite know what I’d do, and since I have a straight brother, I suppose I should really put more thought into it.  Here’s the crux:

I am being married this summer to my fiancee of five years, “Beth.” I had always assumed that my brother “Mike,” who is also my best friend, would be my best man. Mike is gay.

When I asked him, I was stunned at his response. Mike said he loves me and Beth but refuses to be part of a ceremony celebrating something for which he is discriminated against emotionally, financially and socially. He refuses even to attend.

While I applaud Abby’s response–maybe one day the US will recognize gay marriage, too–I’m torn about this and wonder what you would do.  I know that I’d be really hurt if my brother refused to attend my wedding for any reason, even a principled one, and similarly I can’t imagine refusing to attend his wedding, should that day ever freeze over.  (Hee hee.)

I wonder if perhaps a compromise would be the better answer.  Attend, but refuse to participate “as the best man” in a show of solidarity for the fight for gay equality.  Maybe that would be an empty gesture–I dunno.  But somehow I don’t think just refusing to go is going to help “Mike’s” relationship with his brother.  By attending in a passive role “Mike” can not only support his brother but also make his protest, and the unfairness of the whole situation, known. It all comes down to when and how to take a stand?

Like the title says, what would you do?  

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3 thoughts on “What Would You Do?

  1. I would go and be best man. I think there are things that are ultimately more important than politics in instances such as this. Marriage is something that the couple getting married believe in, it is important to them to therefore have it, and if they wanted me to be their best man I would be part of that event. In the same way I would hope that they would respect things about my personal life. In this instance the political is seperate from the personal, and the personal takes preference. By getting married the couple aren’t saying that they are apposed to gay marriage, not at all, and by refusing to be the best man the only person that I would be proving my point to would be the couple… and in quite an inconsiderate way. It isn’t as if anyone in authority would get to hear that I had refused, and presumably the couple would be sympathetic to gay marriage anyway if I were their best friend.

  2. Don’t sweat it bro- I won’t need a best man, just a couple of witnesses. If I ever ask you to participate in some archaic ritual, especially in any kind of Christian church, I would like you to take my car keys and wallet, since I’ll obviously be in need of a serious intervention of some kind. Indeed, if ever I lose control of my faculties enough to marry a religious girl, please see to it that the ceremony is held next to my open grave, because my life as a human being would be forfeit, and I’d loathe myself.

    Unless the woman is very, very, rich, in which case please just play along and be handsomely compensated for it.

    Yer brother

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