DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a 43-year-old man who came out of the closet 20 years ago. I have spent the vast majority of that time in committed relationships. My husband and I got engaged a year ago last July and just had our wedding ceremony.
Twelve months after our initial engagement, my parents and my twin sister decided that they could not support my marriage because it was a gay marriage.
I was shocked and devastated, as these same people had frequently visited me and whichever partner (there have been only two) over the past 20 years. They spent time in our home, even imposed for a weeklong vacation during which I played dutiful tour guide from sun-up to sundown. They slept in our bed, as it was more comfortable than the alternative.
They were uninvited to the wedding, which was for the best. We had a lovely day and will never forget the love and support that surrounded us.
However, the Supreme Court made a decision that legalizes marriage equality in my home state. I’ve not spoken to any of the three since July, and now I’m not sure where I stand. I’m legally married and would love for my family to be a part of my life, but I will not sacrifice my dignity just to spend time with bigots to whom I happen to be related.
Should I wait for them to come to me? Or should I reach out to them?
GENTLE READER: It strikes Miss Manners as unlikely that your family consulted the Supreme Court in deciding whether to accept your wedding invitation. Nor does the estrangement seem to have worked.
Yet public opinion about gay marriage has been changing, and it is just possible that they might seize another chance to resume relations.
If you want to reach out, you would probably do better by issuing them an invitation jointly with your husband so that it is clear that they would be visiting you as a married couple, rather than forcing them to rehash their peculiar position of countenancing cohabitation while condemning the respectability of marriage.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the etiquette governing the offering and acceptance of a “lift” to an event?
I attended the memorial service of a friend. Wanting to help out, I agreed to drive another couple, strangers to me. The drive was uneventful. However, early into the memorial, my passengers began to inform me that “We’re ready to go now.”
I wasn’t, but with the fourth “reminder,” I gave in and away we went, missing what I later learned were some very kind and moving testimonies honoring our deceased friend.
What would have been the proper way to handle this, short of saying, “Call a taxi”?
GENTLE READER: Offering to call a taxi for them.
Miss Manners is sorry that you felt pressured to alter the implicit terms of the favor you did and assures you that your generosity did not render you a car for hire. Considering the nerve these people showed, she is confident that they would simply have bullied someone else into doing their bidding.
Judith Martin writes the Miss Manners column with help from her son, Nicholas Ivor Martin, and her daughter, Jacobina Martin. Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, MissManners.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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