Same Standard: Do I give a gift to my recently married gay nephew?

by epi on July 23, 2014

Q: My nephew, who is gay, just got married in Massachusetts. do I send a card or a gift or both? How do I acknowledge the event?’

A: You acknowledge it just as you would any other wedding of a close friend or relative – with a celebratory card and gift, if you are close. This lets your nephew know you love him and honor his choices and are glad he is your nephew. Even if his life style makes you uncomfortable, you treat him as an important person in your life.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Justin July 24, 2014 at 10:39 am

At the same time, no one can force you to compromise your beliefs. By sending him a congratulations card or a gift, you are in fact giving your consent. This may be okay with you. If is not, when you see him in the future you can still be polite and wish him the best life has to offer without approving of his lifestyle. Sometimes, values trump what is easy.


Alicia July 24, 2014 at 10:55 am

Being a bigot is not a value. Your nephew has found someone he loves and wants to spend the rest of his life with. That is a wonderful thing. If you fail to see this as a wonderful thing then no you do not want the best for your nephew, instead you are being a bigot. Any kind Aunt or Uncle would be happy for their nephew finding love and welcoming to the new spouse regardless of the gender of the new spouse. Failure to do so and you are sending the message of hate and your nephew (as well as your sister or brother)would be very right to exclude you from his and his spouses life going forward.


Elizabeth July 24, 2014 at 11:05 am

I agree. There are lots of situations when we don’t necessarily like the person our family member has chosen to be with. Even if they are someone of the opposite gender, you may still not like their values, things they’ve done in the past, their personality or whatever. You still recognize a marriage despite these things because that is the decent thing to do. Family before politics, before judgment.


inuko July 24, 2014 at 11:38 am

No one can force you to provide any kind of support, but by withdrawing it, a message is sent that may have far-reaching and well-deserved consequences. If a relative’s ‘values’ mean failing to recognize the bonds of love in my life, I will ensure that they have no influence over my children, nor any significant role in my life.


Robin July 25, 2014 at 4:08 pm

If you start thinking of him as “my nephew” rather than “my nephew, who is gay” you’ll probably find the answers to this question and many others come more easily.


Sarah July 27, 2014 at 3:34 am

I read the question differently. It seems that maybe this nephew has been in a relationship, maybe even in a committed marriage, beforehand, but that now he has been “legally married” due to the ever changing legal options for same-sex marriages (which why mentioning that he is gay and that is was in Mass. were pertinent for the question at hand).

A lot of assuming, I suppose.

My sister was married ten years ago, but they married in Massachusetts (they live in the Carolinas) for legal benefits as they had their daughter a couple years ago.

She didn’t consider it to be their wedding, as they were already married from where they stood. For this second “marriage”, I sent a card and a small piece of artwork as a small celebration gift.

In your situation:
First things first, call your nephew and congratulate him on the exciting news. Ask about the event and how they are celebrating. If he speaks about it as a simple paper process, maybe a card will suffice. If he had the joy of a newlywed, send a gift.


Gracie August 22, 2014 at 6:40 am

I believe the advise was solid until the phrase “even if his lifestyle makes you uncomfortable” was added. The LW never indicated such so it seems unnecessary to add. I took it as two people married but did not have a big wedding or reception.


Lori C August 22, 2014 at 10:26 pm

I was taken aback by EPI’s response of ” Even if his life style makes you uncomfortable, you treat him as an important person in your life.” EPI seems to be saying being gay is a life style which indicates being gay is a choice. I am very disappointed with this mind set. Heads Up EPI ! Is being heterosexual a life style? Did you choose between being attracted to the opposite sex or same sex? No? Me either. I don’t remember having to through a decision about my “life style”. You are what you are.


Alicia August 23, 2014 at 7:36 am

You seem to be reading into the reply a bit much and a bit negative. I understood the even if it makes you uncomfortable part of the answer to be dealing with the original question writers phrasing. The original question writer asked about gay nephew. Gay nephew strait nephew doesn’t change anything regarding answer. Had original question writer been fully comfortable with nephew they wouldn’t have to had specified sexual orientation. So I think the thought was that original question writer miń£ht have been uncomfortable. Nobody is trying to imply that sexual orientation is a choice. We are all born how we are. Anyone we care about who finds love of their life is super lucky and that is a life milestone to be celebrated.


Lori C August 23, 2014 at 10:16 pm

EPI’s answer was totally fine and on point, except for the last sentence about life style. There was no reason to bring that up. It reinforces the LW’s outdated notion is a difference between her nephew getting married and her gay nephew getting married.


Alicia August 24, 2014 at 9:30 am

No it tells op to treat a nephew like a nephew.


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