October 17, 2015

The Duplicity of Mormon Weddings

Weddings are a beautiful thing. You dress up. You arrive to a lovely venue. You see old friends.
Love is in the air. Congratulations are given with sincerity and received with smiles. I am a sucker for weddings; I can't help it. I have been to many weddings in the last two months and with each one my heart jumps a little in anticipation of my own. But as a gay mormon I know others won't have the same feelings when I get married.

The Straight Mormon Experience

People love to see a young man and woman begin dating. Seeing them hold hands is a moment all moms shed a tear for. There is a congratulatory aura from friends, family and church leaders when a couple progresses down the path of dating. When an engagement is announced, invitations get posted with pride on the front of refrigerators. Man and woman are given sincere hugs and well wishes for the exciting time a wedding brings. 

Family meets the bride and sisters-to-be embrace. Family meets groom and welcome him to the fold while brothers-to-be warn of taking care of their sister. Grandparents are kissed on the cheeks and they share their wisdom of a happy, long marriage.

As the day nears, relatives and friends arrive in town. Families join together to decorate at the stake center. Joy and love is in the air as everyone is so excited to welcome the bride or groom to their own family. Tears are shed for joy and happiness. Thrill fills the air for the two lives to be bound for eternity.

The Gay Mormon Experience

People are sadden to see a young man and another young man begin dating. Seeing them hold hands is a moment a mom cries about. There is an aura of tolerance from friends and family, or outright disapproval when a couple progresses down the path of dating. Church leaders warn of coming discipline if those unnatural actions are not stopped and repented of.  When an engagement is announced, invitations get thrown away or hung up in embarrassment in a spot away from public sight. Bride and bride are given loose hugs and tempered wishes for the cautious time a wedding brings.

Family meets the groom and brothers-to-be keep their distance. Family meets groom and politely say they are welcomed for dinner. Grandparents are not told of the relationship or are only aware of the "special friendship".

As the day nears relative and friends have to make a choice whether they will support something they don't believe in. Families are torn over the choice of the church or a sibling. Bride and bride are left to decorate by themselves at a small venue they had to pay for out of their own pocket. Fear and unknown is in the air as neither are sure if their own parents will walk them down the isle. Parents shed tears for lost salvation and wrong life choices being made. Angst is in the air for the two lives to be bound by a law of the land that is not compatible with God's law. 

The Wonder of Double Standards

As a gay mormon I get excited—until I wonder if this same friend will even attend my wedding. As I buy a wedding card, I wonder if it will be reciprocated. I truly am happy for my friends but I wonder if they will be happy for me. I see their family taking full part in the big day and wonder who from my family will miss my big day. I see love and excitement for their new beginnings as a couple and wonder who will express disdain behind my back for my beginnings.

The duality of reactions for a typical mormon wedding and a gay wedding weigh heavily on my mind. Instead of pure joy and happiness, thoughts of my own wedding are blended with worry and concern. 

Weddings are a celebration of love. Nothing but love should be present. Yet this is not true for many gay couples and even farther from the truth for gay mormons. This makes me sad. I hope for a joyful day when that big day comes for me. I have had little glimpses of how my family might react recently and there is still a lot of unknowns. I wish I had nothing but confidence.

My Prayer

No wedding day should be filled with sadness. No wedding day should have empty seats in the family section. No wedding day should be met with trepidation. No wedding day should be greeted with unknowns.

My prayer is that my wedding will be one bursting with love and excitement. I pray that I might not have to cry for the absence of a family member who decided, "they just couldn't". I pray that I may go forth into my married life with fond and fun memories of that big day, shared with the one I love.


  1. We are dealing with some of this now as we tried to figure out if we made a big announcement and invited/expected everyone to come to our wedding. So rather than put everyone on the spot we decided to get married (for us and so it is meaningful just for us) and throw a party next year on our anniversary where everyone can participate in the wedding celebration without necessarily making a statement.

    The only thing was--we didn't tell anyone about it until now--we're slowly getting the word out to family & friends, it has been a good response so far (especially from our very LDS families) and they have time to get used to the idea of being in the celebration next year. But I've seen a few of my friends being supported even by their LDS families--don't be surprised and give people the benefit of the doubt, they might just be as supportive as any other heterosexual couple's wedding.



    1. Miguel, if you were to do it over again, would you go about telling people the same way? I think for me, I would just be to happy and not be able to withhold the news (even though I would be hesitant too).

  2. You know it is a tough call--everyone's family is different based on their current stand or beliefs.

    For both of our families--as LDS as they get--are VERY supportive of us as a couple, they always included us in all family activities (birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving and even their LDS events--blessings, baptisms, missions and such) and we've been supportive as well---after all it has to go both ways.

    The tricky part for us was that we never really broach politics or religion in the open like that--it is more of an understated "love you and support you as my relative unconditionally" and we had never really asked the family point blank about their stance on gay marriage, or their level of support. They certainly have never even as much as "liked" or commented any of my Facebook posts about SCOTUS decisions so our assumption (again in an effort to NOT put people on the spot) was that they may or may not be all out supportive publicly--but they are definitely one-on-one as we're finding and as my new mother-in-law has said: "I won't go wave a flag may not go to pride with you but I support and love you both"--which I believe is the stance more or less that everyone else follows.

    Again, that's what worked for us--If I had to do it all over again I would likely to the same thing but that's just because of our situation and trying to read in between the lines of supportive family members vs their public stance on issues.... if that makes any sense.

    1. It does make a lot of sense. Thank you for sharing!