Flannery O’Connor once said that “ while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.” I’d argue it extends beyond the Mason Dixon line. I live in the great state of Texas, a place known for our braggadocio and a unique sense of self-delusion mixed in with aggrandizement (see 90% of our wack ass legislation). A place so Christ-haunted that turning down loving couples for being gay is championed as standing up for your faith. On the other hand, condemning the HUNDREDS of clergy members of the Southern Baptist Convention for sexual assault and harassment is impolite dinner conversation.
Last week, the self-delusion fell squarely on the shoulders of a Denver-based videography company, Media Mansion. Ironically, they’ve been catching hell for their stance to “respect” the LGBTQ+ community so much that they won’t provide services for same-sex unions, but will if you’re gay and own a business. Makes sense right? This coupled with the United Methodist Church’s recent vote for restrictions against queer clergy (many whom have sustained my last remaining ounce of faith in Christianity) and queer couples to marry in their churches has many of us worn out, scared, and feeling helpless.
I know I’m not alone in saying that I’m tired of this bullshit going on in the wedding community. I’ve gotten asked by people I used to work with who’ve cut ties with me because of my progressive values (because apparently not doing a wedding at a plantation is super progressive in the South), “Why get so political? Weddings have nothing to do with politics.” EVERYTHING HAS TO DO WITH POLITICS. The wedding industry is a microcosm of our society. It is a sliver of the rules that have been imposed on us. The sexism masked as delicate femininity, the homophobia, the fatphobia, the transphobia, the exclusivity of who gets to be loved, the monochromatic guest lists, the coded language of venues that remind people of “simpler” times and values, the body shaming, the classism, all of it is just a small snapshot of who we are as a nation and as a world.
If You’re Going to Hate, You Might as Well Be Upfront About It
Having grown up in the church none of this surprises me. Congregations love lauding businesses seen as taking a stand by supporting a line of hateful thinking that has existed, been supported, and in some cases codified into law for millennia. This ain’t new. None of this is new. There isn’t anything valiant about entertaining couples, then telling them “Well, actually…”
The same way I know to turn the opposite direction if I see someone with a confederate flag, I want 2019 to be the year vendors take a “stand” in being upfront. Admit you don’t serve same-sex couples. Put it on your websites, on your marketing, be fucking brave about it. Be loud. Let people know so couples don’t have to get their hopes up about reaching out to you, work up the gumption to have to come out to yet another vendor, remain vulnerable to possible attack, dismissal, or curt disapproval, and then have to start the process all over again only to possibly reach the same result.
Stop being cowards. If you want to hate, hate out loud. Take off your hoods, step out from behind your texts, and be what you are. Be like Paul in the 28th chapter of Acts and proclaim the kingdom of God with, “all boldness and without hindrance (verse 31, NIV).” Go off sis. Save yourself from getting dragged from the east to the west online and save couples the emotional labor of having to worry if the people they’re hiring will even respect them.
Combatting Hate with Humanity
Equally Wed’s co-founder, Kirsten Palladino, penned an amazingly kind and measured response to the Colorado incident. Palladino mentioned that the couple’s response to people dog piling negative reviews about the company was not to add to it. It was grace in action. In fact, the couple was a perfect demonstration of Romans 12:17-18: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Funny how that works.
In that same vein, in an effort to keep the peace, the rest of us won’t patronize you or work with you. We will spend as much time worrying about your business that you spend considering our humanity, which is apparently not at all.
Jordan A. Maney is a San Antonio-based wedding planner and owner of All The Days Event Co. She she started her company as a planning haven for all the couples the industry chooses to ignore. Instead of just making a brand, she's building a community. Find more of her sass, humor, and Southern hospitality at allthedaysweddings.com.