Carolyn Hax is on leave. This column originally ran on April 4, 2008.
Not long ago, a good friend of mine asked me to be a groomsman. Since I adore both him and the bride, I readily agreed. I thought it a bit odd that there was no rehearsal dinner, but since the ceremony itself was not exactly traditional, I didn’t think much of it. Soon afterward, the bride’s parents emailed a link to snapshots of the weekend. Several are clearly of a rehearsal dinner, with everyone in the wedding party (and significant others), except me. I know the invitation wasn’t “lost in the mail” because no one said “Where were you last night?”
I suspect the groom’s parents, who belong to a conservative religious denomination, deliberately excluded me because I am gay. I am very hurt, not only by the action itself, but by the apparent, tacit approval of my friends. Should I say something?
I’m sorry. I could argue the rudeness alone was staggering enough to make it hard to stay friends with this couple if you don’t air this. But you have grounds to believe it was the social equivalent of a hate crime, and so staying quiet might make it hard for you to live with yourself. One + one (equal sign) speak up.
Only you can make that call, of course. But when friends hurt you, it’s mostly about you, and to a lesser extent the friendship. When friends do something you perceive as offensive, you’re not just the spokesman for your own feelings anymore, but also for the group you feel was diminished by the action in question. Like it or not, it’s your responsibility to decide if you’re abetting future offensive behavior.
Your friends themselves can help you with your decision. Tell them you learned from the photographs that you were the only attendant excluded, and that you’d like to hear their explanation before you draw any conclusions.
If possible, please do it in person. If your suspicions are founded, then they should have to face you. If they’re unfounded, then you should have the assurance of seeing the truth in their eyes.
Email Carolyn at email@example.com or chat with her online at 10 a.m. each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.