Equality of Marriage Rights - Gay and Straight

I am having a very hard time with my sister-in-law. She has made a commercial to promote voting yes on prop 8 - which if passed will take away the right for gay couples to marry. The courts have recently decided that it is unconstitutional to not give gay couples the right to marry. My sister-in-law sent an email to all of the family explaining why she feels so strongly about this and why she helped make the commercial. She basically suggested that children will learn about homosexuality in school in a positive way and she feels that the schools should not be discussing the issue. I feel very strongly that gay couples should be treated like any other couple and I do not believe in any kind of separate but equal treatment. I sent an email to her saying that and asked her to not send me emails like that again, that it offends me. She emailed back that she felt attacked and she said she is hurt. Oh, the drama! How would you handle this? Any advice?
Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage. Anais Nin
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I am having a very hard time with my sister-in-law. She has made a commercial to promote voting yes on prop 8 - which if passed will take away the right for gay couples to marry. The courts have recently decided that it is unconstitutional to not give gay couples the right to marry. My sister-in-law sent an email to all of the family explaining why she feels so strongly about this and why she helped make the commercial. She basically suggested that children will learn about homosexuality in school in a positive way and she feels that the schools should not be discussing the issue. I feel very strongly that gay couples should be treated like any other couple and I do not believe in any kind of separate but equal treatment. I sent an email to her saying that and asked her to not send me emails like that again, that it offends me. She emailed back that she felt attacked and she said she is hurt. Oh, the drama! How would you handle this? Any advice?
Originally Posted by belicious

I'd email her back and say I felt attacked and hurt by her hate-mongering advertisements. Unless and until people stand up to homophobia, racism and other forms of hate speak, it's never going to stop.
RedCatWaves, I so agree with what you are saying, but I gotta have Thanksgiving dinner with her. And there are other family members like her. My own parents (catholic parents - Knights of Colombus are huge money backers of this propositon) voted yes on this propositon and they have gay friends (who of course would be crushed to know they voted this way.) I gave my parents an earful too. I am really saddened by all this.
Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage. Anais Nin
My hair shrinks or expands according to the humidity and my hair products.
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I stand up to my rich Republican economist poor-people-hating brother all the time. We have some rip-roaring debates, but we keep it friendly. He's still my brother and I love him, I just don't love his principals. The worst names we call each other are conservative and liberal. I suspect neither one of us is insulted by those names.
I am having a very hard time with my sister-in-law. She has made a commercial to promote voting yes on prop 8 - which if passed will take away the right for gay couples to marry. The courts have recently decided that it is unconstitutional to not give gay couples the right to marry. My sister-in-law sent an email to all of the family explaining why she feels so strongly about this and why she helped make the commercial. She basically suggested that children will learn about homosexuality in school in a positive way and she feels that the schools should not be discussing the issue. I feel very strongly that gay couples should be treated like any other couple and I do not believe in any kind of separate but equal treatment. I sent an email to her saying that and asked her to not send me emails like that again, that it offends me. She emailed back that she felt attacked and she said she is hurt. Oh, the drama! How would you handle this? Any advice?
Originally Posted by belicious
I guess it depends on how much it matters to you and how badly you want to keep the peace. You're certainly within your rights to tell her to keep her vile views to herself. (Though I'm sure you did it much more politely than I would have.) That's not attacking her, that's protecting yourself from her and her bad energy. Contrary to what bigots and proselytizers often like to claim, it is not an attack to tell someone you disagree with them and to please keep it to themselves, especially when they're the ones who initiated the exchange in the first place.

If you want to continue to let her engage you about the subject I suppose you could point out that the bolded is nonsense. Marriage isn't a subject taught in public schools. It's not like there are "Who To Marry 101" classes that would suddenly have to include gay marriage in the curriculum. That would not suddenly change because a segment of our citizenry was finally granted equal rights.

Or you could just block her emails. Or tell her since she's not capable of listening to your opinion the way she wants you to listen to hers, you'd rather not continue on the topic at all and reiterate that she's not to send you any more emails on it. I wouldn't expect much to change though, even if you do continue to talk to her about it. When someone gives excuses for wanting to continue bigoted behavior and laws, they're usually just that - excuses. Logic won't work, because their opinions aren't based in thought to begin with. They're based in things like hatred, fear, and a pathetic need for a sense of superiority to others.

I'm sorry to be so blunt about a family member(s) of yours, but I have very little patience for people like this.
I do not know how to deal with the sister-in-law saying she is hurt and feels attacked. I spoke with her brother who also sent an email disagreeing with her and he told me that if I want to make sure things are okay with sister-in-law that I need to make the effort, that she has said her final say - that she is hurt. I do not want her to feel hurt, but at same time, I think she is totally outta line. She risked disagreement by sending the email. She can't say "she is hurt" when she gets a message that disagrees with her. I feel like if I try to console her, I am disrespecting myself. She needs to be a grown woman and respect my disagreeing with her and not act like she's been attacked.
Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage. Anais Nin
My hair shrinks or expands according to the humidity and my hair products.
2C hair, thick and coarse and dry
Look, to me it sounds like she's looking for approval and validation. Not only in sending the horrid thing in the first place (she probably wanted glowing praise on it from everyone rather than any honest opinions), and now when she want you to make the effort to make her feel better - without any consideration of how she made you feel.

I personally don't like to indulge emotional manipulation on top of bigotry, so I'd blow her off. Let her feel bad. She deserves to.
Maybe you could do one of those non-apology-apologies. You know, like, "I'm sorry you are feeling hurt, but I disagree with your stand on gay marriage. Perhaps we shouldn't talk about it again."

That gets you off the hook...officially you apologized. But you didn't apologize for anything you said or did, only that you're sorry she's hurt, so you didn't compromise your own principals.
I absolutely agree Koukla72. I completely feel like she is being manipulative. I do feel that her feeling "hurt" is because she did not get the approval she was seeking. The fact is most of the people who received her email probably did respond to her the way she wanted with praises and well wishes. It was likely just myself and her brother that sent messages expressing disagreement.
She will likely be hosting Thanksgiving dinner and I do not expect to hear from her before that. Any advice on how to conduct myself that night? I normally offer to help her in the kitchen, express my thanks for her hosting, etc. The way I am feeling now, it would be difficult to behave this way.
Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage. Anais Nin
My hair shrinks or expands according to the humidity and my hair products.
2C hair, thick and coarse and dry
Sometimes constantly explaining things like you're talking to a three year old helps.

My mom is Roman Catholic and a few years ago despised gay people and thought they shouldn't have any rights.

I've been working with her, talking to her, cajoling her, explaining to her, etc, etc and now....

she agrees with me that they should be allowed to get married.

As long as she doesn't have to actually see anyone making out in a same sex couple, she wants them to have all the rights as anyone.

You can change people's mind a little bit at a time, eventually they may come around, especially if you're pushing a positive point I think. You just have to not be too pushy about it and never get angry. Staying calm seems to be key in this.
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Oh wow, she's hurt that you disagreed with her? Talk about passive-aggressive BS. I like RCW's idea of a non-apology apology. I would then just do my best to avoid the subject at Thanksgiving. How annoying!
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I would just be true to yourself on Thanksgiving. If you feel ok about spending extra time with her on Thanksgiving, go ahead and offer your help when you get there. If you don't feel like you want to interact any more than necessary, or spend time with her to help her get ready, don't. This actually holds true even if there is no "issue" - as a guest, you're not obligated to pitch in, it's just often done anyway.

If she tries to bring it up and you don't want to get into it, point out how inappropriate it is to do that in the middle of a family holiday and shut her down. If she acts petulant and rude, mentally shrug your shoulders and ignore it. Just relax, enjoy the rest of your family, and be gracious and polite in the contact you do have with her. After all, it's her problem, not yours - let her deal with it. That's how I'd see it, anyway.

Happy early Thanksgiving.
There are a lot of "hurt" people, who get offended when people don't agree with them.
It's ridiculous, but it's true.
If you want to maintain some kind of family harmony, I would do the non-apology apology.

I have a few family members who just think they are completely right about their views and feel like they are personally attacked if someone disagrees. My mother and one of my brothers come to mind. I love them...so I just make an effort to change the subject and not engage in conversations that feed into this dynamic. Maybe I'm not being "true to myself" by not voicing my true feelings, but really I just don't like drama and I don't give a damn about voicing my feelings to certain people. I know what I believe and I'm fine with that.
I talk to people who aren't going to emotionally manipulate me about my beliefs...and to everyone else...I just keep the superficial talk going, to keep the peace...or other topics that won't be so emotionally charged.
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Thanks everyone for the comments. I decided to send another email to her. All of the communications have been through email. I know, not the best, but I really do not want to talk to her either. So here's what I said:
Regarding your last email message:
sis-in-law wrote:
I have to say I am nearly in tears right about now. I cannot believe how some of my "family" is treating me right now.

Since the real point here is ...obviously, what I feel means nothing so I shouldn’t say anything!

Thanks family, I'm hurt and I'm done!

_____________________

It really bothers me that this is your last communication. Do you really want this to be the last thing you wish to say over all this? Are you comfortable with that? I am asking you as respectfully as I can to find a way to agree to disagree respectfully and communicate as much.

It is insulting to me and to yourself and to your brother to characterize this as your brother and I treating you badly. You are a strong woman who has been through many tough times. You were bold enough to voice your opinion on this controversial subject when you in effect became a spokesperson for it by making the commercial. I refuse to see you as some sort of victim here who needs to be consoled.

I say this with respect and love. I hope you can see it that way too.
Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage. Anais Nin
My hair shrinks or expands according to the humidity and my hair products.
2C hair, thick and coarse and dry
So she sent a quick reply. Here it is - positive, but very confusing!


I am sorry I have not responded sooner. I actually want to talk to you about this face to face. Emails are too impersonal and I believe we both were responding out of emotion. Please do not speak for my brother and assume he is feeling what you are feeling. The issue I am referring to actually has nothing to do with the prop issue and I realize now that you may not even be aware of what that is and that is not fair to you. So, of course, I will not let this interfere with us as family but I feel we can't continue this via emails. Until we speak face to face...consider yourself hugged.
Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage. Anais Nin
My hair shrinks or expands according to the humidity and my hair products.
2C hair, thick and coarse and dry
RedCatWaves, I so agree with what you are saying, but I gotta have Thanksgiving dinner with her. And there are other family members like her. My own parents (catholic parents - Knights of Colombus are huge money backers of this propositon) voted yes on this propositon and they have gay friends (who of course would be crushed to know they voted this way.) I gave my parents an earful too. I am really saddened by all this.
Originally Posted by belicious
GAH!!! noooooo

My life insurance is through them.
I definitely feel your pain!
If you have to eat Thanksgiving dinner with this relative on a regular basis, that to me is a really good reason to say how you feel! Otherwise the relationship would get pretty oppressive for you after a while.
When a stranger says something hurtful I just let it slide because I will never have to see them again ... but with people who are close to me I always speak up because otherwise the unspoken tension would bother me too much.

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