Dear Barb – Same-Sex Wedding Brings Opportunity for Discussion

Dear Barb:

A very good friend is getting married and she is gay. Janice and I have been very close confidantes for years, but our relationship has not extended beyond work. Therefore my husband and children have not spent a lot of time with Janice and my children do not know she is gay. My family have been invited to the wedding, including my children. My sons are aged eight and nine and I’m not sure I should bring them to the wedding.

Janice says to bring them as it will be fun. She has no idea I have never told them about her lifestyle. My husband and I have talked to our boys about marriage and family and that it takes place between a man and a woman. I know if we bring them to the wedding there will be lots of questions. If I don’t bring them Janice will be hurt. What should I do?

Kara

Hi, Kara, thanks for the interesting question. Being gay is a part of our society. It is not hidden away as in the past. Gay marriages are legal in many parts of the world and we need to include them when preparing our children for life. As we talk to our children about the facts of life, we need to include gay lifestyles as well. The more openly we discuss issues with our children, the less prejudice and intolerance they will exhibit toward others.

I would definitely bring your children to the wedding, but prior to it, you and your husband need to explain to them that this is a marriage between two people who love each other but are of the same sex. The main value you want to relay to your children is that marriage takes place between two people who love each other. At their young ages I don’t feel you need to go into any further detail, unless they ask more questions.

Generally, if a child is astute enough to ask a question they are prepared for the answer. So depending on your children, further questions may be a possibility. Your nine year old may be more inquisitive than the eight year old, or vice versa. How much you disclose to your children will be a personal preference, based on your relationship with your children. Some families openly discuss everything, while others pick and choose topics with which they feel comfortable.

I believe this will be a good experience for your children and one that will better prepare them for life. Hope this helps, Kara.

Email your questions to voice@voicemagazine.org. Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.

%d bloggers like this: