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wedding table

Should I attend a Gay Wedding?

It is almost inevitable that a day will come when an invitation of this nature will drop on your doormat. It’s most likely that you will have been expecting this announcement and now the day has arrived. In anticipation, you have been wondering, how should a person RSVP to the invitation if they hold strongly to the biblical definition that marriage is monogamous and heterosexual?

Questions to reflect upon

The circumstances of the wedding are the crucial factors in coming to a decision. So some important questions come to mind:

  1. Are the couple involved Christians, and if so, are they having a secular or church wedding?
  2. What kind of relationship do I have with them now and if my attendance will change that, will it help or hinder?
  3. Do they know my views on gay marriage, and if so, why are they inviting me?

These questions cannot all be answered in an article, as every situation will be different. However, the Bible can give some important principles that help us to reach a decision where perhaps an obvious answer is not apparent.

Biblical principles

Firstly, and obviously, we know from John chapter 2 that Jesus attended a wedding. Some theologians are of the view that this could have been a wedding in Jesus’ family due to the involvement of his mother Mary. We know from John 1:14 that Jesus came full of grace and truth. Wherever we go, we take Jesus with us, so we too must be full of grace and truth. In the event, Jesus’ presence at the wedding brought great blessing.

In chapter 14 of Romans, Paul addresses the issue of eating and celebrating special days. Whilst a gay wedding is quite a different situation, it is clearly a “disputable matter”. But he encourages us not to quarrel, so this is a passage well worth studying:

Romans 14:4 mentions judgement: After instructing the Corinthians about how to respond to the immoral brother in the church (1 Cor 5:1-11), Paul makes it clear in vv12-13 how to respond to a non-Christian:

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.

This suggests that our response to an invitation from non-Christians could have a very different response to one from Christians. However, let us consider carefully whether this is the appropriate time and place to try to bring make a stand for truth or to show grace and wait for a better opportunity even with Christians. In part, this will depend on whether the couple involved are already aware of your viewpoint. It certainly presents an opportunity to discuss with them in advance how you feel and whether your attendance is going to be appropriate, especially in the light of Romans 14:19:

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

It is important to consider how to remain at “peace with everyone” (Rom 12:18) and whether your attendance at the wedding will promote peace and edification.

Romans 14:23 reminds us that “whatever does not come from faith is sin”. How will our attendance demonstrate faith as something that is “confidence in what we hope for and assurance of what we do not see [yet]?” (Heb 11:1)

Let us not forget that God sent Jesus to save the world because He loves us (John 3:16): Will my attendance at the wedding better demonstrate the love of God, or would this be more evident by staying away?

It may be that one of the couple is a close relation to you, possibly a son or daughter. In this situation, the couple concerned are probably well aware of your views. No doubt discussions have already taken place, and the fact that you have received an invitation in those circumstances clearly means that the relationship you have with them is a relationship that is very important to them. They want you there, despite knowing what you think, which probably demonstrates they respect you. Let us remember Luke 15:11-32 (Parable of the Prodigal Son) in this context. Which response is likely to make it more likely the prodigal will return?

A matter of conscience

Finally, perhaps the guiding principle in this situation is through prayer and biblical counsel to come to a place where you are fully convinced in your own mind how to respond as Paul says in Romans 14:5:

One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.