Ethics: Accept the Invitation to Son’s Same-Sex Marriage?

What would you do Wednesday!

I don’t know any Christians who have faced today’s scenario of being invited to their gay son’s same-sex wedding. However, I’m sure there will be Christians who have and who will face such a dilemma.

So let’s think about it….

You are a Christian who believes that marriage is something only between people of the opposite sex. You raised your three kids with this belief about marriage. This is the position on marriage from both the Bible and from a natural law perspective.

Not only have you taught you kids that same-sex marriage is actually an attempt to wrongly redefine marriage, but you have taught them that homosexual activity is another form of sexual immorality condemned by God. Persons involved in such activity need to seek forgiveness from God by way of repentance.

You have also taught that Christians are to – hate the sin and love the sinner – which is acted out by calling people to repentance.

A real dilemma came the day one of your sons confessed that he was gay. When your son told you he was gay you still loved him, but you still loved God more. So, you expressed your love for him by encouraging him not to engage in homosexual activity explaining that such temptations are not sin, but acting on them are.

Your son stayed celibate until his last year away at college. While attending his college graduation you inevitably met his boyfriend.

Then, two months later you receive a letter and a wedding invitation from your son. He was not able to tell you in person that his boyfriend was actually his fiancée (he lives in a state where same-sex marriage is legal).

Your son invites you to his same-sex wedding and wants you to walk him down the aisle.

What would you do?

  • Attend and grant his wish because he’s your son.
  • Attend, but don’t walk him down the aisle.
  • Decline explaining that you love him, but God must come first.
  • Get the family together and plan to boycott the wedding.
  • Or…
Let's connect!

tagged as , in Christianity,Church Issues,Culture

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 rhology April 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm

-Decline explaining that you love him, but God must come first.
-Get the family together and plan a boycott at the wedding.

If by the latter is meant “plan not to attend the wedding” ie “a boycott OF the wedding”.

2 Jonathan April 10, 2013 at 12:20 pm

This reminds me of a question I thought of recently that when I get married to a woman, I would want to invite a female friend to the wedding, but not her same-sex spouse. And is it possible to truly not recognize personally, not consider it official, because it is not such in the eyes of God, as this ceremony, this “wedding”, does not.

3 Stephen Bedard April 10, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Attend but not walk down the aisle. Boycotting the wedding would cause a rift that would prevent future Christian input into his life.

4 Joshua T April 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Normally I just enjoy watching the replies to this applied ethics. Sadly I have had to “boycott” a family wedding before (for non-homosexual related reasons) and felt like adding my $0.02.

I think you must decline and approach Biblically founded family members with the reasons for your “boycott”.

5 Jonathan April 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm

I might choose B, but lean to C, since personally it would be awkward to attend as it carries an implied blessing, even if it is understood by the son that you disagree, yet love him. Very good question.

6 Mark April 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Rhology, thanks. And I cleared up the boycott wording.

Jonathan, that’s another tricky situation considering someone’s feelings might be hurt.

Stephen, I hope you know that I try to add an option for each ethics post that is a little off the path that probably no one would really do. In this post, that option is the boycott. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

7 James McDuffy April 10, 2013 at 12:33 pm

I go to the wedding and walk my son down the aisle.

If we were to not attend this wedding we should also not attend the wedding if our son was cohabitation or simply having premarital sex. I believe it shows Christians hypocrisy (though the motives are pure) on the issue of homosexuality if we cant attend our sons wedding when the issue is homosexuality, but we can when it is fornication.

I know it isn’t a direct parallel, but I think it speaks to the same thing.

I also want to note that just because you attend and walk him down the aisle doesnt mean you approve of the lifestyle and decision. At that point, my son would clearly already know where I stand. Boycotting the wedding literally doesnt accomplish anything.

Great question, Mark.

8 rhology April 10, 2013 at 12:43 pm

I disagree with James McDuffy.
It’s not hypocrisy to point out that some sins are worse than others. Homosexuality IS worse than fornication. Both are evil. Both are the mark of the unregenerate heart. Homosexuality is worse. It is a perversion and an abomination.
A hetero couple who is fornicating SHOULD get married. That’s the best thing for them, and marriage is for one man and one woman.

Marriage is not for one man and one man. Not only will attending and walking down the aisle lend an air of credibility to the proceedings, it also makes a mockery of what marriage IS.
What these two men are doing is not a real wedding; it is a sham. But they call it a wedding.
If boyfriend wants to come over for Thanksgiving or Christ-mas, that’s something else. But to participate in this, for these reasons, is not the same as participating in a shotgun wedding of two fornicators.

9 PewPotato (@PewPotato) April 10, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Your son has divorced his wife for unbiblical reasons. His wife wants to reconcile, but he is getting married to a different woman. Your son invites you to his wedding and wants you to walk him down the aisle. What do you do? Is it different or the same than the scenario above?

10 Ashley April 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm

I’d, “Decline explaining that you love him, but God must come first.” And in addition to this, lift my son in prayer and continue to minister to him through the word of God.

11 rhology April 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm

PewPotato – that is a very good question. My answer is the same, though that situation has more “going for” it than the gay marriage, b/c it’s actually what marriage is – one man and one woman – whereas the gay “marriage” is not-marriage masquerading as marriage.

12 Larry April 10, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I’d have to decline for a couple of reasons. Firstly, if this is being conducted as any kind of worship service (which a wedding normally is) I could not attend any more than I could participate in a Mormon service or the rituals at a Buddhist temple. Secondly, it’s not as much a matter of approval as of facilitating my son’s sin. I would not help him buy drugs if he was a drug addict so I should not help him enter into a different situation that helps solidify his sin and makes his repentance less likely. Now, will he do it without my help? Probably but at least I’ve not helped him participate in sinful activity.

13 Nathaniel King April 10, 2013 at 1:25 pm

I actually face the almost exact scenario and honestly don’t know what to do. My mother is getting married to her “girlfriend” and I don’t know what to do, other than pray.

14 Jake April 10, 2013 at 1:47 pm

I would attend the wedding as a courtesy with understandings. My beliefs are that what he would be doing is WRONG! I should be free to express those beliefs. I would not walk him down the aisle, or in any way be a part of the ceremony as more than an observer. Speaking to Larry, I have not had any qualms with being an observer at Buddhist, and Mormon ceremonies in the past. I have helped drug addicts buy drugs for that matter. My overriding concern would be what would further the Kingdom, or how can I accomplish the most Good.

15 Larry April 10, 2013 at 2:08 pm

If you’ve helped a drug abuser feed his flesh and pursue his sin you were doing him immense harm, not loving him or doing good in any sense of that word.

16 zacharystepp April 10, 2013 at 2:48 pm

James McDuffy:

I would respectfully disagree with you, but on different grounds than rhology.

“If we were to not attend this wedding we should also not attend the wedding if our son was cohabitation or simply having premarital sex. I believe it shows Christians hypocrisy (though the motives are pure) on the issue of homosexuality if we cant attend our sons wedding when the issue is homosexuality, but we can when it is fornication.”

Cohabitation and premarital sex are unquestionably sins. On that much we agree. However, the purpose of a wedding is not to condone past behaviors but instead to bless and sanction the covenant joining of two lives together. The marriage of two people who have, in the past, sinned is not per se invalid. The “marriage” of two same-sex individuals is.

“I also want to note that just because you attend and walk him down the aisle doesnt mean you approve of the lifestyle and decision.”

Again, I would disagree. That’s a major part of the wedding ceremony, especially for the parents. Specifically, the act of walking a child down the isle is literally and symbolically bringing them to the alter and to giving them to the new spouse. Respectfully, there’s not really anything else to the act other than approval and blessing.

17 P April 10, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Treat it like you treat all weddings that you don’t approve. Unless you boycott heterosexual weddings that don’t align with scripture as well you have no basis to not go to the wedding

18 Mandy April 10, 2013 at 4:27 pm

I agree with James McDuffy. Your son knows where you stand on the issue, you don’t have to prove it over and over. My advice would be to love him and be there for him.

19 Albert April 10, 2013 at 7:21 pm

The Apostle Paul would tell us the following as found in Ephesians 5:6-14
“Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But when the light shines on them, it becomes clear how evil these things are. And where your light shines, it will expose their evil deeds. “

20 Albert April 10, 2013 at 8:21 pm

I want to clarify that we need to both show love to them and also refrained from participating in this wedding as a statement otherwise we are giving the wrong witness. We need to realize that Jesus is both loving and is also serious about us being distinct in our witness. If the salt loses its flavor then what good is it? Some people are going to hate Christ so we need to realize that the same will happen to us. Love by being courtious, gracious but do not comprise on the conviction on the issue of marriage. Christ interacted with nonbelievers but never once comprised on holiness. He both showed mercy to the sinner but also told them not to continue in sin. Marriage is not a business transaction but a sacred ceremony. Condoning sin is not love. Love exposes people to the light that makes them aware of their need. Sadly speaking and living the truth is now equated with hate and bigotry.

21 Mark April 10, 2013 at 9:33 pm

James McDuffy, though I disagree with you, thanks for answering. I think a principle can be pointed out that it is better to marry than burn with lust as Paul teaches. Paul never encourages or approves of homosexuality in the same sense. A couple moving from fornication to marriage may be said to be doing the right thing while a couple moving from fornication (or not) to same-sex marriage is never doing the right thing.

PewPotato, to answer your question – I faced a similar situation, but it was with a close friend. I was asked to be in the wedding. I declined both the participation in particular and invitation in general. IOW, I did not attend at all.

Ashley and Larry, agreed.

Nathaniel, I hope you settle your conscience before the Lord in this matter. Personally, agree with others who say they would not attend.

Jake, I agree with Larry.

zacharystepp, thanks for the good word, neighbor.

P, the boycott suggestion wasn’t a serious one.

Albert, yep. Thanks!

22 Mark April 10, 2013 at 9:46 pm


That’s really tough. What if daughter were marrying a man who had just walked out on his wife due to irreconcilable differences? Would I attend? Would I walk my daughter down the aisle? Or, what if it’s my daughter who walked out on her husband? I honestly don’t know right now. I would place this in the same scenario. Homosexual activity is indeed sin and gay marriage would involve homosexual activity. It is not a marriage in the eyes of God. Of course, nor is the situation I mentioned above. He’s committing adultery with my daughter. I would probably not attend either, but I can’t say that with certainty at the moment.

23 Mark April 10, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Hi Mark, I agree all of the situations present a difficulty in one sense or another. However, there could come a time when marriage may be acceptable in the situations you list with your daughter. But there is not time when same-sex marriage would be acceptable. I also don’t see how the decision in one situation warrants the same decision for the other.

I probably would not attend in the daughter situations you presented. BTW, I did an ethics question on a professing Christian daughter marrying in unbeliever. My wife and I both agreed we would not attend that wedding either.

24 Daniel Spratlin April 11, 2013 at 12:39 am

I would not attend, no question about it.

Furthermore, there is no such thing as a same-sex “marriage”. They don’t exist. But that’s pedantic because I know Mark knows that. He’s just facilitating discussion 🙂

25 Ken Temple April 13, 2013 at 9:26 am

Don’t go to the “Wedding” – explain in love it is not a marriage and not a wedding.
Explain the gospel again and that repentance from this is necessary.
Help others in extended family to understand my position also.

26 Carla Rolfe September 27, 2013 at 1:02 pm

@James McDuffy I know this is an old discussion thread but I had to chime in here.  You wrote “I also want to note that just because you attend and walk him down the aisle doesnt mean you approve of the lifestyle and decision.”  
Historically and symbolically yes, it does.  The whole purpose of the father walking the bride down the aisle to her waiting groom, is the father “giving away” his daughter to a man he approves of her marrying.  Historically, a father would not give away his daughter (walk her down the aisle) to a man he did not approve of or accept.  So in Mark’s scenario, a father walking his son down the aisle to marry his same-sex partner would in fact be a strong statement that the father approved of the marriage.


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