To answer this question, I want to begin by looking at what the Bible says about homosexuality. I find it interesting that the 19th chapter of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, tells us what happened to the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and why. You can read the whole story for yourself, but let me point out a few verses. In verse 4, we are told that “all the men from every part of the city of Sodom–both young and old–surrounded the house.” Verse 5 continues, “They called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.'” In verse 11 we are told, “Then they [the two angels; see verse 1] struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.” In verse 24, after Lot, his wife, and their two daughters have fled Sodom, the Lord destroys the cities and their inhabitants with burning sulfur from the sky. Jude verse 7 corroborates the story of Sodom and Gomorrah: “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”
Leviticus has two verses that condemn homosexuality. Chapter 20:13 says, “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own hands.”
Romans 1:18-32 is an extended passage about God’s wrath against mankind. Verses 26-27 tell us, “God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” I Corinthians 6:9-10 include “homosexual offenders” in the list of the wicked who will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Scripture makes very clear that homosexuality is a sin. However, in recent years, I have read and heard a lot of interpretations about these Scripture verses (and others) by people who seek to justify their and/or others’ homosexual behavior. For example, people say that these verses refer only to homosexual promiscuity; in other words, if two men or two women are faithful to each other sexually, their behavior is condoned, not condemned, by God. Another bizarre interpretation by those who seek to justify homosexual behavior is that these verses condemn only pedophilia; in Andrew Marin’s book Love Is an Orientation, he wrote about those who hold to this interpretation. While I’m not a Biblical scholar, it should be obvious to anyone who reads these verses, and who understands the Bible as a whole, that God condemns homosexuality. A more recent argument I have heard is that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. My response to that is, Jesus never mentioned “grace,” either. Does that mean we should ignore the wonderful teaching about grace in the rest of the New Testament?
One thing I want to make clear is that what the Bible condemns is homosexual behavior. There are people with a homosexual orientation who have chosen to remain celibate for the sake of the Gospel. My wife and I met such a man a couple of years ago. Does he struggle with temptation? Yes, but in the power of the Holy Spirit, he has been keeping himself sexually pure.
Over the course of the last 40 years, the U.S. has been moving in the direction of granting same-sex couples more and more rights. This culminated in the Supreme Court’s ruling on June 26, 2015, which legalized same-sex marriage by requiring all states to grant same-sex marriages and recognize same-sex marriages granted in other states. There was, of course, great rejoicing in the LGBTQ community. In my own heart, there was a mixture of anger and sorrow. Some of the sorrow that I felt was for same-sex couples who now had the right to get married. Why? Because when they got married, it would make it even harder than before for them to leave their life of sin. In fact, a couple years ago, a brother in Christ told me that his lesbian daughter’s wife had come to faith in Christ. However, when I asked him if anyone had spoken to her about what this meant for her relationship with his daughter, he was silent.
This brings me to the question I posed in the title: Should you attend your gay friend’s wedding? I know that not all Christians will agree on the answer, but here is a series of questions I urge you to ask yourself.
- First of all, ask yourself, “Am I convinced that homosexuality is a sin?” If not, then read your Bible, which gives a very clear answer.
- Second, ask yourself, “Where is my friend spiritually? Have they shown any inclination toward Christianity?”
- If your friend has shown an interest in Christianity, then ask yourself, “Does my friend know what I think about homosexuality?” If not, that should be a red flag. Why? Because I would assume you want your friend to come to saving faith in Jesus Christ, and that can’t happen if they persist in their sin of homosexuality. After they are married, it will be even harder because repentance would mean that they need to break off that sinful relationship.
If your friend knows that you think homosexuality is wrong, I would be somewhat surprised if they send you a wedding invitation! However, if you are invited: should you attend? My personal answer is No, because a wedding is a time of celebration, and I don’t celebrate sin. If you choose to attend, then at a minimum, I believe your friend needs to know what you think about their behavior; if not, then they will assume that you condone it. Not only that, but again, once they are married, it will be even harder for them to come to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
A couple years ago, a close friend of mine told me that an acquaintance of his, a believer, had been invited to the same-sex wedding of a lesbian colleague. This acquaintance couldn’t think of a good reason not to go, so he went; besides, he reasoned, maybe his “tolerance” would show something of the Lord’s love to her. Before the wedding, this woman had been very friendly to him at work. However, afterwards she constantly gave him the cold shoulder at work. He was puzzled because he had attended her wedding and had not given offense, either there or at work. My wise friend surmised what had happened and explained it to him. He had been her Christian “token.” In other words, she had wanted him at her wedding to give it more legitimacy, and indeed, she had introduced him to some people at her wedding as her Christian colleague. Afterward, she no longer needed him, so she tossed him aside.
As I mentioned earlier, I know that not all Christians will agree on the answer to this question. What’s most important is that you have a clear conscience before the Lord if you answer differently. Of course, you want to preserve the relationship, but if you don’t tell your friend now what you think about their behavior, when are you going to tell them? It will only get harder later. Lastly, may what happened to my close friend’s acquaintance serve as a cautionary tale.