how do i deal with gay cousin/his boyfriend during Thanksgiving dinner?

He will show up with his boyfriend at my moms house for Thanksgiving. A few weeks ago, my cousin announced during dinner, without any shame, that he and his boyfriend just had 1 yr anniversary being together. Nobody responded to him. I wanted to say something but didn’t want to cause a scene. However, with the boyfriend present at a family gathering I feel that silence is not the way to go. If they bring up the topic of their relationship I feel that I should counter with my beliefs on the matter. (My cousin no longer attends Mass). How would you handle this situation?


You are both invited guests. Be courteous and polite.

That was a sensible path.

Invited guests should be polite, not create an uncomfortable situation at the famil gathering. It is unfortunate that your cousin did not behave politely, but that does not mean you must follow suit.

I would suggest you not do so. Be polite and kind to both of them.

The time and place to discuss this, and perhaps suggest your cousin refrain from bringing up the topic in the future, is NOT at the dinner table during family Thanksgiving. It is not appropriate to embarrass your cousin, his “boyfriend”/guest, or your parents. Presumably they have both been invited, either explicitly or by virtue of being “family”. So, no, do not try to go into religious apologetics during Thanksgiving dinner.

Pass the potatoes.
How about those Cowboys?
Is it going to rain this weekend?

At most, I would suggest we discuss the matter at another time.



I would add - avoid being judgmental. Use gentle words and act with kindness when discussing the matter (in a setting other than Thanksgiving dinner).

Be a good guest and be polite. Don’t make your mother sorry that she’s hosting this dinner and don’t make other guests sorry that they attended. Don’t do anything to turn this into a Thanksgiving that will go down in history as ugly and unpleasant.

If you feel that you cannot sit through a dinner with your cousin and his partner without making clear where you stand on their relationship, consider staying home.

Do I remain silent if they show some degree of affection (is, hand holding, kiss at the table)? After all kids will be present. What if they begin to discuss their relationship, plans of a gay wedding, etc? If such topics are brought up, someone will have to engage in conversation. Silence could be seen by them as a type of approval for their behavior…I agree that Thanksgiving is not the type of venue to cause a scene, since I know a heated argument could easily ensue. There can be a way to express disapproval on my part without causing a scene. Perhaps I can privately talk with my cousin b4 the gathering.

Do you have children that you are bringing to Thanksgiving Dinner that are going to be seeing this “couple” together?

I would say deal with it. If they’ve been together over a year and have been invited as a couple, then you can’t really expect them to not hold hands or pretend that they aren’t together to protect your sensibilities. Your mom is hosting, not you. This is her concern. You should keep your thoughts to yourself and be pleasant and polite.

I’ll ditto what 1ke said, and add this:

What would saying something about their relationship at Thanksgiving dinner, of all places, accomplish?

What I mean is, how would bringing something like that up in such a public setting make either of them more willing to listen to what you have to say? If I were in a similar position, I’d be hurt, angry, and all the less inclined to hear or consider the other person’s point of view.

Is what they’re doing–presuming that they’re engaged in a sexual relationship–wrong? Sure. But shaming them at a major family event will hardly open their minds to the Catholic view of homosexuality. Quite the opposite, in fact. The thing to remember about their situation is that it’s not about you. It’s about spreading Christ’s message, and using words in this case won’t do that.

Be courteous, kind, and respectful; in short, be Christlike in your actions. Perhaps at some point in the future the topic may come up in a way and a time in which the two of you can discuss it, and your actions in the past will speak much louder than your words in demonstrating to your relative that you genuinely care about him and that you follow what our Church teaches about someone with his inclinations. I don’t know if he’s Catholic or at all catechized on the subject, but a lot of people, homosexually-inclined and otherwise, are very poorly informed on this topic. When a friend “came out” to me and asked me what I believed about it and I told him that the Church does not teach that a homosexually-inclined person is going to Hell just because he has this inclination, he was genuinely shocked and pleasantly surprised. Naturally, I also explained about the Church’s teaching about how we don’t know what anyone’s (canonized saints excepted) eternal destination is, and also explained the difference between temptation–a thousand temptations don’t equal a single sin, and all that–and actual sin. Is he a practicing Catholic now? No, but perhaps the seeds were sown, and perhaps someday he will be. He knows that I can’t support him in his actions, but he knows that I care about him as a person nonetheless, and so we’re still good friends. He also knows that when and if he’s ready, there’s a church that won’t tell him that he’s going to Hell just because he is attracted to men. Very important, that.

As the Apostle St. Paul writes, “Do not even eat with such a one.”

I wouldn’t go, and certainly not if I had kids with me. I realize it’s your mother’s event and your absence may hurt her feelings, but how is it that she is inviting the cousin and his boyfriend?

Now, maybe your mother invited the cousin only and the cousin simply brought the boyfriend. It is up to your mother to tell the cousin that the boyfriend is not invited or to live with the consequences of not doing it. By being there, you’re endorsing it. And if anybody’s kids are there, you are endorsing exposure of children to adult acceptance of homosexual relationships.

Undoubtedly the cousin wants acceptance of his homosexual relationship. That’s incredibly rude on his part, no matter how strongly he feels the need for you to accept it.

I would politely tell your mother you are not coming, and why you aren’t. I would invite your mother over to your house for dinner on some other occasion. If she won’t go, then that’s part of the price you pay for standing up for your beliefs.

Be couteous and polite. I am sure there have been many gatherings that you may or may not be comfortable with the people invited. We should treat people with kindness and treating them with kindness does not imply you accept their lifestyle. And that goes for ANY kind of lifestyle not just the SSA.

I have family members that practice the gay lifestyle. I love them and I really like their “others”. However, I do not want my children to accept this lifestyle as a normal lifestyle. I have turned down invitations depending on the event. Holidays are pretty safe in my family. If they witnessed something I didn’t approve of, we would have a discussion about it probably on the way home. And this goes for anything, like if Uncle Joey was drunk and pinching people or whatever. I try to model the CCC and bring it up as a reference when we discuss moral things.

Just smile and have a good day. Model Christ :slight_smile:

Perhaps your family is different from mine, but I can’t really imagine a situation in which my husband and I would kiss at a table full of relatives, or hold hands, for that matter. I mean, aren’t they rather busy talking? How big is this gathering, anyway? I mean, if they start discussing wedding plans and whatnot, couldn’t you just as easily be talking to Uncle Harold about his fly fishing?

How close are you to this cousin? Do you regularly talk anyway? If so, you might get together with him, or call him, and if the topic of his relationship comes up, explain–but only in a courteous and gentle manner–your beliefs. Example:

Him: “Fred and I are planning a wedding ceremony next year at the local botanic gardens. We’re thinking May or June.”

You: “Fred seems like a really nice guy; I can see why you’re so fond of him. It’s a bit awkward, though…you see, I’m Catholic, and my church’s teachings on gay marriage are a bit out of the mainstream…(go on to explain what they are, and make sure you understand them well yourself)”

Don’t compromise your beliefs, but don’t be rude in the process. He may still see this as rejection, at least initially, but in retrospect–and if you treat him and Fred with nothing but kindness and courtesy–he will probably see that even if he doesn’t agree with you, you don’t hate him for this, and that you respect him as a human being with all the innate dignity that espouses.

If you aren’t close with this cousin and therefore don’t have that opportunity, then I would focus on not being a part of such a conversation in the first place, and perhaps explaining at a later date why.

Are the kids at the table yours? If so, depending on their ages and maturity, perhaps discuss the matter beforehand. A three-year-old doesn’t need an explanation. A twelve-year-old should have some idea of Church teaching, but know to be polite and courteous.

Indeed? And how does this fit with Christ eating with tax collectors and prostitutes, while being certain–at an appropriate time and place–to tell them to sin no more?

There are TWO different issues here really:

  1. A parenting issue

  2. An adult issue

PARENTING: As a parent you may indeed discern that it is not prudent to tell your young children that a homosexual lifestyle is a mortal sin, then bring them to grandma’s to witness a kissing couple across the table. In that case it may be best to keep them home.

ADULT: As a single adult it is your choice whether or not to attend, however it would be rude to take a family holiday at someone else’s home and use that as an occasion to lecture another person on their sinfulness. If you do decide to attend and something is said or done that offends you, you can politely excuse yourself and leave the room quietly.

Everyone will be uptight enough as it is. I would be polite like most people suggest. Just try and have fun, celebrate the occasion. Miracles do happen. You never know, your cousin one day may one day go back to the church, and if he feels he can confide in you, you might be in a position to help and gently suggest. Have a joyous Thanksgiving!

How would you know? There’s a good chance that the cousin could care less if he has the OPs acceptance of his relationship. I certainly have never cared if my cousins approved of my relationships.

But the cousin is certainly not rude for going to dinner with his boyfriend, especially if they were both invited.

I agree with what 1ke said. Also, who goes around kissing at the table at Thanksgiving dinner? Maybe my family is different, but couples don’t randomly kiss at dinner and they don’t go around the house holding hands. :shrug:

If they were both invited, they were both invited, and it’s not rude on the cousin’s part, though it is on the mother’s part if the mother has good reason to belive it will be offensive to other guests. If the cousin just showed up with his boyfriend as one might with a real spouse, that’s rude on the cousin’s part; an “in your face” gesture to Catholics who, presumably, will be there.

It is of no consequence whether the cousin cares or not. He has chosen what he will accept, and what he wants to oblige others to accept. It’s up to the OP to decide what she will accept, not what the cousin will accept.

Not rude of the mother at all. She can invite who she wants to her house, and if others have a problem with that they can not attend.

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