In this week’s advice column for The Washington PostSteven Petrow answered a question about addressing same-sex marriage in religious communities.

An anonymous reader from North Carolina wrote:

Last week I was at the pool with my young kids when a new member of the club, also a mom, started chatting with me — asking me the ages of my children, where my people were from, and so on. Everything was going nicely until she asked me what church we belong to. I didn’t think for one second not to answer directly and said Presbyterian. Immediately, this woman said, “You know they’re allowing gays to marry now and our clergy to marry them. We’ve had to find a new church.” Honestly, some of my best friends are gay and for a sec I thought about pushing her into the pool. But, actually, I was flummoxed, especially with my children splashing around and simply said, “I’ve gotta go look after my kids.” Then, I felt I had let down my gay friends by not saying anything. What could I have done instead?

Petrow told the reader that her answer was spot on. “I actually like the effect that your action had, which was to stop any further conversation,” Petrow explained. “Advocacy can take many forms." 

As more and more denominations open the doors to marriage equality, like the Presbyterian Church, people will increasingly face complicated situations like the reader's, where they are not sure what to do next.  

There are many ways to approach these situations and we invite you to check out HRC's Religion and Faith program's for more ideas on how to engage a conversation in your congregation, with your families, and with strangers at the swimming pool.  

Do you live in the Washington, D.C. area and enjoy reading Steven Petrow’s weekly column? If so, HRC invites you to an evening with Steven Petrow: Interview, Q&A and Reception. For more info and to RSVP, click here.

Filed under: Religion & Faith, Media

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