Q: We have a daughter that has told us she is gay. She is now getting married to her partner. She wants us to be there, but I am conflicted. Love her and want to be there, but wonder if by being there I am telling her I support her choice that goes against God's laws. What would you suggest is the right thing to do?
A: I appreciate you phrasing it “what would you suggest is the right thing to do?” What I offer here, as I do in any of my columns, is my educated opinion as a believing Latter-day Saint and a licensed family therapist, not me speaking for the Church itself.
In my opinion, you’ve raised your daughter in the gospel. She already knows what you believe about marriage and God’s laws. In all cases like these that I’ve encountered, the child is perfectly clear on the matter of where his or her parents stand on moral issues.
This is not a case of whether or not you agree with her decision. It’s a case of whether or not you support her right to make it. It’s a case of whether or not you show love, to her and to her future spouse as children of God, by being there for them in what is, for them, a major moment in their life.
The way I see it, you’ll only do harm by not being there. You’ll only create a sense of rejection that may close their hearts to any influence you can have for good in their lives. I don’t see any situation where a child comes back to the gospel because their parent boycotted their wedding.
Elder Lance D. Wickman had this to say with regards to welcoming our LGBTQ children and their partners into our lives:
“It really is true the Lord’s way is to love the sinner while condemning the sin. That is to say we continue to open our homes and our hearts and our arms to our children, but that need not be with approval of their lifestyle. Neither does it mean we need to be constantly telling them that their lifestyle is inappropriate.”
Your daughter needs to know how much you love her and support her using her free will, even if you don’t agree with her decision. She needs to know that “thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:44)
I had a friend in graduate school with whom I was sharing the gospel. I truly hoped she’d be baptized into the Restored Church of Jesus Christ. She did end up choosing to be baptized . . . but into a different denomination. She invited me to the service. Of course, in my heart I wanted something else for her, but she was my friend. I loved her as a fellow child of God. She was making a commitment that was important to her. I didn’t boycott her baptism because I believed it wasn’t the right baptism. I went, I supported her, we became even closer friends, and she’s told me several times how much it meant to her that I went.
In the end, however, these are just my thoughts. I’m telling you what I would do. Other LDS Living readers likely have a host of passionate opinions on the subject. You’ve got to do what feels right.
The Lord’s words to Oliver Cowdery apply to your question: “you must study it out in your mind, then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right… you shall feel that it is right” (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8).
Elder Dallin H. Oaks echoed this, specifically regarding the degree to which parents accept gay children and their partners into their homes: “That’s a decision that needs to be made individually by the person responsible, calling upon the Lord for inspiration. . . .There are so many different circumstances, it’s impossible to give one answer that fits all.”
I know what I’d do. I’d go to the wedding, congratulate the couple, eat some cake, and rejoice in the principle, brilliantly taught by the late President Gordon B. Hinckley, that “we can politely disagree without being disagreeable.”