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The issue came up in a phone call my partner got from his mother while I was washing cups in the bathroom sink (no kitchen at the moment-- ahh, home renovations!).

"Oh, do I have something to discuss with you!" he said. Something in the tone of his voice told me he would dread bringing this up with me.

"What did I do?!" I asked.

"Oh, YOU didn't do anything...."

Background: Now that same-sex marriage is legal in California, my partner and I decided to get married. We've been together for over 5 1/2 years, we're completely dedicated to each other, so why not? Granted, doing it during a house reno wasn't great timing, but we've managed to put together an intimate, fun, low-key beach wedding followed by a little catered reception at my partner's parents' house. His mother has gummed up things by inviting friends of hers that we don't know-- or have particularly fond feelings toward-- but we figured they could come to the reception (which, by the way, we are paying for). The wedding's in a bit less than two weeks. In our invitation, we ask attendees to not give us gifts other than their presence-- and a small donation to Equality California to help keep same-sex marriage legal.

"My mom says 'Cindy' (name changed to protect the trollish and idiotic) won't give to Equality California because she doesn't believe in same-sex marriage. But she supports us. And she'll make it up to us at Christmas."

'Cindy' is the spinster daughter of a deceased friend of my mother-in-law's (my M-I-L feels some kind of obligation to keep in touch with this woman). She's a perfectly miserable creature who can occasionally be sweet, but usually is just irritating. But who knew she was such a religious bigot?!

I hit the roof. "Call your mother back and tell her to tell 'Cindy' to go to Hell. Your mother's friend is not welcome at our wedding. She is not welcome at our wedding reception. She is not welcome in my house. I never want to see her again. If we go to your parents' house and she's there, we are leaving. I'll be DAMNED if she sits her fat ass down in my presence on OUR wedding day and eats the food WE pay for, and says she can't support same-sex couples getting married. If I see her face that day, I will collect up you, the rest of our family and our friends and we will go do our own thing. And I will send your mother every goddamn bill for the wedding we have paid for."

A couple of angry phone calls later and 'Cindy' is uninvited. We think. Like all Republicans, she lives in a constant state of cognitive dissonance, so who knows if the reality of "She is not welcome" will cut through the constant buzz of "Well, those two fags are OK, they invite me to their cookouts, they can get married, but if any others want to, that's just icky, EEEEWWWWWWWWW!"?

So now my partner and I are livid at this horrible excuse for a human being that we thought was better than this. How can someone divide people into "those that she can deny full human rights to" and "those that can have full human rights because I know them and they invite me to cookouts"?! My mother-in-law feels caught in the middle. Was I wrong to fly off the handle like this? Have I become intolerant?

I don't think so; why should I tolerate HATE? Especially when my partner and I are footing the entire bill for this shindig, AND planning the setup and cleanup of the reception location (the back yard)?! Why should our special day be ruined by this?

I've decided I will stand up for myself and what I believe in. I won't put up with intolerance any longer. Of ANY kind.

We have an important election coming up. Things look a bit bleak at the moment. Sometimes I despair at the seeming bottomless well of stupid that the American people can tap into. But I have decided that I can't give up. We ALL have to decide what is worth fighting for. And we have to make a stand. This is bigger than I. Or my partner. Or this stupid woman 'Cindy'.

This country is completely and utterly screwed up thanks to stupid people. It's time to take it back. Get involved so everyone gets a fair shake.

Barack Obama for President

Equality California

Let's get Barack in office. Let's vote down Proposition 8. But let's do something NOW.

Originally posted to CajunBoyLgb on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 08:28 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh Jeez, (8+ / 0-)

    these sort of things are so complicated.  I can't answer your question, so I'll just extend my congratulations to you on your upcoming nuptials.

    For four nights Republicans told America "Republicans screwed up, and you need to send Republicans to clean up the mess Republicans made."

    by jazzmaniac on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 08:36:13 AM PDT

  •  That woman is a clod. (5+ / 0-)

    You were not wrong.
    What if she were invited to an interracial wedding, back in the day, but she did not believe in interracial marriages and was not willing to donate to the NAACP or the Urban League or SNCC in lieu of a gift? She would undoubtedly be insensitive enough to rationalize that "that interracial couple is different," and assume that her presence would be a happy addition to a good party. The self-respecting couple, with luck, would have a golden opportunity to rescind her invitation, as you two have.
       If your mother-in-law somehow does not get the message, she should pay the bills for spoiling your special day. I bet, however, that your mother-in-law will find a way to make herself understood to her idiot friend.
       Meanwhile, bravo, and congratulations, and a long and happy life together to you!

    I could have been a soldier... I had got part of it learned; I knew more about retreating than the man that invented retreating. --Mark Twain

    by NogodsnomastersMary on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 08:41:26 AM PDT

  •  Not wrong at all, IMHO (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AnnCetera, Turbonerd, Virginia mom

    With two possible exceptions.

    Does your partner fully support the position?  It is he who will have to deal with his mother's anger more than you, and if he isn't fully on board, then you have the beginnings of marital strife, which is not worth the principle involved.

    Did he manage to get his mother to understand why the two of you could not accept Cindy's blessing your marriage with her attendance while not sanctioning others?  If the phone calls got too angry, then the message might have gotten lost.  While cindy makes my blood boil (though less viscerally than yours because I'm straight), allowing the anger to overcome communication can be counterproductive.

    On the main issue, I'm all for you.  It's your party and deciding not to essentially post a sign that says "Welcome hypocrites," is my idea of the right call.

  •  Congratulations! (7+ / 0-)

    Being married is wonderful.  

    Getting married, on the other hand, is stressful and expensive.  Everyone wants your wedding to fulfill their needs.

    Smile.  This too shall pass.  And stand up for what you believe in.

    My dogs think I'm smart and pretty.

    by martydd on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 08:45:23 AM PDT

  •  Yowza! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    craigkg, Pluto, Turbonerd, martydd, RadioGirl

    Mother-in-law placed you in a delicate situation, in terms of etiquette.  (Note that I'm not going to venture into what's right and wrong, legal or not; just sticking with etiquette.)

    The guest list should have been up to you and your partner, not gummed up by in-laws.

    If you have disinvited Cindy, then there is nothing to be done.  You have effectively severed polite communication with her.

    If she shows up at the reception, I'd gently suggest not escorting her away, or making sure she's escorted off.  Instead, extend civility.  That does not mean that you have to be cordial.

    If you were me...

    You could show surprise that she's there, especially if you can seek her out at a moment when she's in the company of others whose opinions she values.

    "Cindy, my goodness, what a surprise to see you!  Silly me!  Partner and I didn't think you wanted to attend the reception, because it might be taken as supporting same-sex marriage!"

    Pause.  Just a second or two; long enough for her to register a modicum of shame and/or embarrassment.

    "Well, obviously we're so glad to see you, Cindy.  We're thrilled that you could be here to help celebrate our happiness, regardless of our gender.  Nothing makes us happier than knowing we can share our happiness with our friends.  We just knew you'd understand that we're just like everyone else, in our pursuit of happiness."

    Very slight pause; a half-beat, maybe.

    "Thank you SO MUCH for coming, Cindy!  We're so GLAD to see you!"

    And then bustle off to thank others for attending.

    If you're not me... well, handle it however you think would be best.

    "You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." Dorothy Parker

    by AnnCetera on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 08:53:44 AM PDT

    •  spot on (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Since the diarist and partner are paying for the reception, it is up to them to decide who to invite.

      On the other hand, taking this opportunity to demonstrate that gay marriage does not mean the end of the world might just be worth the frustration.

      I completely understand the anger. But I will pass along the advice my father gave to me, when I was bent out of shape about some aspect of my wedding that was spinning out of control: pick your battles. And to that I would also add, make this celebration memorable for all the right reasons. Don't let Cindy (or mil) take that away.


      (heh. sidebar ad just popped up: "Wedding Etiquette 101")

      You've got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was. - Irish Proverb

      by Turbonerd on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 09:32:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  mazel tov! (3+ / 0-)

    Yes, I always think that people who are willing to eat the food off one's reception table ought at least be polite enough to keep their stupid bigotry to themselves(kind of like taking bets on how long a marriage will last, in other words, tacky.)

    Sorry that you even had to insist on getting that person uninvited, but congratulations on the wedding! Many years of happiness together!

  •  It's your wedding. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Congratulations! You should have the wedding you have always dreamed of.

    Moreover, the other purposes of the wedding are to have witnesses to the joining of your lives and to celebrate that joining. It sounds to me like Cindy is not an impartial witness and would be unable to celebrate.

    At the spiritual level, you don't need that kind of negativity at your wedding.

    She is not your relative. She is not your friend. You owe her nothing.

    You don't want her. You don't need her.

    I say, Kudos! You did the right thing.

    It sounds like your MIL loves her son and wants him to be happy. Whatever disappointment or embarassment she may feel -- make it up to her!

  •  Some mistakes: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    1. Your mistake: The only people that should come are those you have invited. You send out the invites. That's how it's done. Weddings aren't word-of-mouth occasions. You get invited ot the wedding. You didn't invite this person. She should stay home.
    1. Your mistake: If you permitted someone else (mother) to invite this person, you have to accept the risk that she might not agree to your gift.
    1. A gift is just that --- a gift. You cannot compel it and you can't act sourpuss when someone doesn't give it to you. Bad manners.
    1. This woman wanted to come, but did not want to donate and promised to make it up to you BOTH at Christmas. Her coming and giving you a belated gift at Christmas is recognition of your relationship. How much more do you want? Your behavior is pushing people on the fence away. This is a person who was willing to ATTEND THE CEREMONY and recognize your relationship. She just couldn't  bring herself to do a political donation.

    Judgment: You are guilty of bad manners. She is guilty of being somewhat stuck in your ways. You just alienated a person who was somewhat on the fence. You could have pulled her over. Instead, you made a scene. Be big. Now. Invite her and tell her that she doesn't need to provide a gift at all, but that a donation is suggested.

    If you are spending time denying accusations and repeating your accusers' own words in your denial, you are losing. -- Tucker Eskew, Republican Operative

    by Bensdad on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 09:35:04 AM PDT

    •  I Had to Respond... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      craigkg, NogodsnomastersMary

      I do kind of see your point of view-- and I'm guessing you're Southern (as I am by birth), given your rather keen sense of noblesse oblige. However, the main bone of contention is this:

      It's not the fact she won't give to our preferred political cause, it's the fact that she is willing to publicly express that she does not believe people like us should have the right to be married. The donation is nothing; she could have said nothing, done nothing and we wouldn't have been the wiser. But she flat-out said she cannot support the right of ALL same-sex couples to get married-- just ours.

      Her support of OUR specific union is meaningless if she thinks every other same-sex couple does not deserve the same support. I'm sorry, but that's how I (and my partner, who is just as mad at her as I) feel.

      This is not a wedding following a drunken evening in Las Vegas, stumbling into an all-night wedding chapel at 4:30 AM and then planning to get it annulled fifty-five hours later. Condemn THAT, sure. But two sane, sober adults wishing to enter into a contract of mutual respect and care should be encouraged and respected.

      If marriage is all about the kids, fine. Annul ALL marriages that, after two years, have not resulted in pregnancy.

      If civil marriage is only to be allowed when it is sanctioned by some church, fine. Annul ALL civil marriages and force the participants to find a church that will marry them.

      Since these are blatantly unconstitutional positions to take, the only reason to be against same-sex marriage is antipathy toward the participants. That is, hatred of homosexuals.

      This woman dislikes homosexuals-- except us. Sorry, but that is hypocrisy and moral relativism I cannot support. Or put up with.

      And by the way-- invitations were sent. My mother-in-law, a dearly sweet and big-hearted woman, unfortunately has a bit of a big mouth. And sometimes she just can't help herself.

      Yes we can. Yes we can. Yes we CAN. Because we MUST.

      by CajunBoyLgb on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 09:59:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. Southern sensibilities..... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ....I think you should re-invite her, be happy she supports your marriage. Once she does that, supporting other marriages will come naturally. You have a chance to win someone over here with a display of love. Forget about the "gift". You can't compel a gift.

        Fight hate with love. And don't feed the hate within you.

        If you are spending time denying accusations and repeating your accusers' own words in your denial, you are losing. -- Tucker Eskew, Republican Operative

        by Bensdad on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:40:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Forgot to Mention One Thing... (0+ / 0-)

          This woman is not a stranger to us.

          She's been hanging around us (that is, my partner and me) for the whole 5 1/2 years we've been dating.

          We have welcomed her into our house for holidays. We have had her over for cookouts and parties. We have gone out with her (guess who's invited her to come to dinner with us?) and put up with her too-loud pontificating, her piercing cackle of a laugh, her inane conversations about her dull-as-dirt warehouse job involving people we don't know and couldn't care less about.... She has had ample opportunity to harden her black, coal-like heart vis-à-vis Teh Gay.

          The fact remains: She can't accept same-sex relationships. It's like she doesn't register that OUR relationship is just as valid as a straight couple's.

          We're not playing "couple". We're not twelve-year-old girls playing BFFs with Sleepovers. We're not freshmen college students going through a "phase". We're two men, in our forties, who have been living together and known by all of our friends as a couple who are spending the rest of our lives together, by hook or by crook.

          Our manners have been impeccable in this matter. But she opened her mouth and reminded us that there's a sizable number of bigoted, small-minded people out there that would take away this right-- and, if they had their way, would recriminalize homosexuality (don't laugh, they've come out and said it MANY times). Marriage is hard enough-- why bring up that some people don't even want us to have a chance to do it right?

          I want to marry this man. I love him with all my heart. Shame on this woman, not me. Why should I be ashamed of loving someone wonderful?

          Yes we can. Yes we can. Yes we CAN. Because we MUST.

          by CajunBoyLgb on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 09:46:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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