The Wedding Conundrum

How can gays and lesbians appreciate opposite-sex weddings without the guilt?

Photo by ThinkStock

You can spot it from across the room. Sitting atop the pile of mail peppered with the Amex bill, magazines and that GLAAD survey is a standout envelop, sporting – perhaps – personalized calligraphy or even a printed script that alerts you that, yep, you’re invite to a wedding.

Anyone in his or her 30s and up has probably gotten pretty used to receiving wedding invitations. And while it’s a no-brainer that LGBT friends want to help celebrate their straight friends’ nuptials, let’s face it, there may also be a pang of contempt knowing that while, say, Molly and Ted can happily tie the knot, Adam and Steve, sadly, cannot. At least not in Pennsylvania. Yet.

So what’s a gay to do upon receiving the next straight wedding invite?

Just because LGBT rights haven’t advanced to the point of allowing same-sex couples the same rights affording to straight friends doesn’t mean straight friends shouldn’t enjoy the benefits of marriage. But one likes to hope that enlightened straight friends will consider the inequity and do a little something about it.

Taking a page from celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron – both of whom have said they will not marry until gays and lesbians have the same right – why not encourage friends to throw a little support toward marriage equality, too? While stars have lots of influence using their well-publicized soap boxes, the rest of us can show a little love – with our wallets.

For many straight couples on the way to the altar, this may mean making a donation to a charity that is pushing for marriage equality either nationally or here at home in Pennsylvania. And rather than registering at all the usual places (hello, Crate & Barrel), the couple may also ask guests to make donations in their name to an LGBT organization as a reminder to everyone that it truly does take a village (and plenty of dough) to make a change for the better.

Believe us, straight friends, when we say your gay and lesbian guests will appreciate the effort. Big time. Because, let’s face it, not being able to marry in 2011 is a little like being the black kid who isn’t allowed to use the same restroom as the white one in 1950. Neither form of discrimination is fair. And neither can change the simple fact that one is born this way, be it the color of one’s skin or the orientation of one’s identity.

So if you or someone you know is looking for a great way to show support for marriage equality, here are a few organizations that gladly accept donations just in time for the big day:

Equality Federation

Equality PA

Freedom to Marry

Get Equal

Human Rights Campaign

Marriage Equality USA

White Knot