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An evening of two affronts

July 28, 2009

Over the weekend, my boyfriend and I attended the wedding of a friend of his. Knowing the time between arriving at the ceremony and sitting down to dinner would be rather long, we opted to grab a slice of pizza before getting back to his place to change into our semi-formal garb.

We went to a pizza joint around the corner from his apartment, a place he visits frequently enough that he was greeted by name by the man behind the counter. Yet as we sat awaiting our order, a grizzled older man came in and, walking right by us, greeted us with a “hello” and a strangely mischievous smile. Unsure how to react, I offered him a “hi” back and hoped our exchange was over, but to my dismay he decided to follow up with a nasty look at our joined hands as he spat out the normally innocuous word “girls.”

Under normal circumstances I would find it laughable to hear such a childish insult, but I was taken aback by the vitriol with which he said that one word. I angrily told him that it was not acceptable to talk to us that way, and he left us alone for the few minutes it took for us to get our food and leave, though not without staring at us in an unsettling manner.

My boyfriend was very upset with the situation, particularly by the lack of a reaction from the other few customers and a couple of workers in the parlor, the latter of whom he knew. But what really struck me was the exchange’s juxtaposition with the Catholic wedding we were about to attend. Little did I know how frightfully homophobic the loving union of two could be!

Fast-forward to us driving to the church, in my air conditioning-free car, in wool suits. We arrived about 10 minutes before the ceremony began, and were soon treated to over an hour of what to me sounded incredibly like a tirade against gay marriage. For some reason, the priest officiating at the wedding thought it necessary to mention several times that “marriage is between one man and one woman” and for the express purpose of “procreating, not recreating.” (I assume he was referring to recreation in the playful sense, as opposed to cloning. But one never knows.)

Now, I am not and have never been Catholic, and I respect the church’s right to marry (or not marry) whoever it likes (or doesn’t). But I didn’t see its place in this particular couple’s wedding, and it stuck out like a sore thumb in an otherwise apolitical ceremony. It was particularly hard to bear given what had happened just before; the fact that the two of us are legally barred from getting married; and because we were the only gay couple there.

Later, at the reception, I was relieved to learn we weren’t the only ones who felt the priest had been needlessly anti-gay, and we had a wonderful time. But the day was a sobering reminder that even if I sometimes feel that our country has made tremendous strides in acceptance of the LGBT community, we have a long way to go, and there are plenty of those among us who will fight any progress tooth and nail.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Nori permalink
    July 28, 2009 11:25 pm

    What a fucking jagweed. Both of them. Fucking jagweeds. They don’t deserve any more from me than that. Not worth the time.

  2. Sara permalink
    July 29, 2009 7:59 am

    I’ve been to several weddings in which there is a point for the priest to give a homily, and it really seems like if the priest is a little nuts, then even if it’s a wedding and his politics have no place there, he’s still going to put them in. Two of my cousins were married in Catholic churches and their priests were lovely and spoke very appropriately on the day. However, I’ve also been to a few weddings where I feel like I should get the hell out of the church lest they decide to stone me.

    What I think is also offensive about putting one’s personal politics into the rites of marriage of another couple is that, although they might share the religion of the church in name by thinking of themselves as Catholic and going to a Catholic church, it doesn’t mean they share the politics of the church (hey-o, church and state!) and if it were MY wedding and a priest decided to go all gay-bashing in his homily (or political in any sense, really), I would be hella pissed.

  3. mosephine permalink
    July 29, 2009 10:54 am

    I’ve definitely encountered weddings (and funerals, actually) where the priest/minister officiating felt the need to inject their own politics, and it’s been very jarring. For example, the minister for my fiance’s grandfather’s funeral was all about the “jews are evil” and I kind of felt like I should make myself very innocuous. In short, I sympathize, and I’m glad the wedding was lovely despite the political views of the priest.

  4. confessionsofaclosetcase permalink
    August 6, 2009 12:12 am

    oh, sorry to hear about that. Never mind them, these people indeed “know not what their doing”. Take heart in everything else that the gay movement has made progress in!

    Josh

  5. robstaeger permalink
    August 7, 2009 12:34 pm

    Ugh.

    Out of all of it — and it *all* sucks — I’m most disheartened that people you knew didn’t stand up for you when you were telling off the dickhead at the pizza joint. Maybe they figured you’d had it under control, but a word of support would’ve been nice.

  6. Megan permalink
    December 13, 2009 3:36 pm

    “Marriage is the union of one man and one woman, for the purpose of procreation, not recreation?” I’m Catholic, and I’m a straight woman who is going to get married soon……NOT by a Catholic priest, but by a Presbyterian one, but if I had a priest do that at my wedding, with my gay friends present……STEAM would come out my ears and I don’t think the donation for the priest’s time would be made. Maybe a nice little note with how he made what was supposed to be a blessing a total embarrassment, but not a dime.

    Okay, so Christianity is not about being perfect, but it’s about trying your best to please God, right? So here’s the priest doing his best to please God with a life of celibacy, a vow of poverty, ect ect, but in his everyday life he’s an asshole. Jesus taught about throwing stones, and I think that priest was throwing the first stone, self-righteous pomp! I would definitely have something to say if I had attended that wedding. “Wow, what a homophobic blessing, Father! It was just beautiful and thank you for opening my eyes about how forgiving Catholics are and open the arms of the church! It says a lot that you were able to speak your politics in the middle of a ceremony that nobody wanted to interrupt and ruin for the couple! Truly lovely.”

    Sorry- doing some research for a paper and stumbled upon this site. I read the first topic and got ANGRY. I can’t believe how small minded some people can be.

    • December 13, 2009 4:41 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Megan! I’m always happy to have someone new stumble upon my blog.

      In retrospect, I wish I had something to the priest, who bumped into me while I waited for my boyfriend to come out of the bathroom, and invited us to “come back some time.” I felt incredibly awkward and just wanted to leave, but now I wish I told him that he had already made it clear people like us weren’t welcome. (Neither of us is religious, so we wouldn’t have come back regardless.)

  7. Megan permalink
    December 13, 2009 3:39 pm

    PS~ even Catholics like recreational sex. Maybe the priest is living in a bubble about that, but I’ll let him know if I ever see him. If I had a baby every time I wanted to have sex…I’d be way busier wrangling babies than the Duggar family.

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