The paradox of tolerance is the idea that in order for tolerance to thrive, intolerance cannot be tolerated.
The intolerant will always try to exert their hatred over the group and so, in order to save the group from that, the intolerant should not be allowed into the group.
What happens, though, when your attempts to keep out the intolerant are met with rage by people you thought were trustworthy?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Same-Chicken-2748 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA? Family upset I won’t invite homophobic cousin to my wedding.”
We start with the good news.
“I (26f) am engaged to my fiancée (26F) and we are getting married next year.”
“I received a text from my mom this morning stating my family (3 of them) is upset that I am not inviting my cousin (24f) who is extremely homophobic.”
A poisonous interaction.
“We used to be very close, but one day 4 years ago came to me with a Bible and told me I was an abomination for doing what I was doing (being a lesbian).”
“I told her if that’s how she felt then she would no longer be a part of my life.”
“We stopped talking and really seeing each other completely since she lives in a different state.”
“I don’t follow her on any socials.”
“I’ve taken the easy path for my family during holidays and have been civil despite how she made me feel – however I feel like it’s my wedding day and I have the choice to choose who I want there.”
“Why would I pay for someone to be there who doesn’t support me?”
“Some of my family members are now saying they won’t come if she isn’t invited.”
“Part of me literally does not care. My heart is telling me if they support me they’ll be there.”
“My mom is still saying I should take the easy path and not cause waves.”
“However she’s also a ball of anxiety so she’d rather there not be any confrontation. I know the entire family is probably texting about it in a group chat.”
OP was left to wonder:
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Hate tells on itself.
“This is a great way for you to weed out all the homophobes in your family.”
“Your mom may hate confrontation, but do you really think if you invite your cousin there isn’t going to be confrontation on your wedding day?”
“If she doesn’t support same-sex marriages then your cousin’s both a hypocritic and a homophobe if she was planning to attend.” ~ RichSignal7022
“Put your whole family on blast. Remind them that supporting a homophobe is being a homophobe.”
“The people who attend your wedding will be the people who want to be there, and that’s more important than having a whole family of a**holes there.” ~ suugakusha
“Also blast them that if they have a problem with YOUR decision, they should speak with YOU and not your mom.”
“That way you’ll know first hand who the homophobes are in your family and will not need to get that information through your mom.”
“You may also find people who need to be uninvited, should they continue to blast you, support your cousin, and still think they can attend.” ~ MarylovesRhoda
“A good way of describing it to them is”
‘”If a Nazi sits down at a table with 10 people, and the 10 don’t leave, then there are ELEVEN Nazis at the table.”‘ ~ Think-Ocelot-4025
Why does cousin care?
“I do wonder a bit if the cousin wanted an invite so they could a) turn it down and give OP a long spiel about going to hell or b) so they could stand up in the ceremony and object.”
“Do these family members really think someone so open in their homophobia is going to sit quietly while two women get married?”
“Sounds like someone looking forward to the ‘speak now or forever hold your peace’ moment.” ~
“That’s the first thing I thought of…if she’s so dead set against gay marriage, why didn’t she TURN DOWN the wedding invitation?”
“Sorry, just re-read the post. Now you NEED to invite her, it will put her on the spot….either she declines, which publicly makes her small, or comes and has to grin and bear it.”
“And if she’s foolish enough to act out at the wedding, surely she would be ostracized by nearly everyone.” ~ Puffies-Rule
“Why would your cousin even want to be at the wedding?”
“My gut tells me she’d probably make a scene as severely homophobic people often do.”
“If I were you, I’d protect myself and my fiancee by not inviting her. You’re right; it’s your day and you don’t deserve to be on edge or put up with homophobia on your literal wedding day.”
“Does your family know what Your cousin said/did? I would let them know if they don’t — it’s possible they could think you’re just excluding your cousin for no reason.” ~ drearyer
“Maybe she just wants an invitation so she can performatively refuse to go, maybe put it on her social media and gossip/complain about you at church.”
“This is an opportunity for her to pretend to be ‘righteous’ and a victim of Satans ever-increasing influence.”
“Or maybe she’s already painting you as an ‘intolerant’ liberal and she’s pretending to be a loving Christian who would support her family no matter what.”
“Maybe it’s both.”
“Either way, or even any other way, the fact that this is playing out as family drama and not her apologizing to you and asking for forgiveness for what she’s done means this isn’t about you, your family, or your love.”
“It’s about her wanting to play the victim.” ~ precociouspoly
Some had scripting ideas.
“Maybe you should message your family members with something like this:”
‘”Hi Bob, I understand that you’re upset because I haven’t invited Griselda to my wedding.”
‘”Since Griselda told me that my relationship with Jo is an abomination, I felt it would be deeply uncomfortable and unpleasant for her to attend our wedding.”‘
‘”Best regards, Cynthia.'” ~ Moose-Live
“You might even want to add,”
‘“If you have any other questions, please address me and not Mom.'”
‘”Please know I will not be changing my mind about her invitation, though I will reconsider the invitation of anyone who tries to force the issue or further involve Mom”’ ~ BestAd5844
Summed up nicely.
“I’m just an internet stranger.”
“It’s up to you to determine what resonates with you, or doesn’t.”
“But your mom struck me as a people pleaser.”
“People pleasing is a coping mechanism and is a plague in our society.”
“People who just want to keep the peace at all cost because…they are afraid.”
“Afraid of what? I’m not sure.”
“But a homophobe should not be handed an invitation to a gay wedding.”
“You don’t need to be gay to get that. I’m not gay.”
“My daughters a little young but if it turns out she wants to be with a woman, I will verbally assault any ‘family member’ who wants to traumatize her with bible verses.” ~ Special_Cover2777
“Also your cousin probably wants to go to your wedding with the express intention of causing a scene.”
“(I wonder, if she actually wants nothing to do with your wedding and is being under the similar pressure now… you might be doing you both a favor by staying strong).”
“Also also, why it’s always the offended party who has ‘not to cause waves’?”
“Tell everyone who pressures you that waves were already caused 4 years ago, what they are seeing now are ripples from a stone thrown by your cousin. You caused nothing.” ~ Ventsel
OP did return with some clarity.
“I forgot to mention this in the post and have seen a lot of comments (sorry I can’t respond to them all as I’m at work):”
“My family does know the things my cousin has said and done. They knew the from the day it happened 4 years ago.”
And finally, gratitude and a happy ending.
“I want to thank all of you so much for your kind words and advice.”
“It’s taken me a very long time to learn how to stick up for myself and am still trying to find my voice – you have all given me so much to think about and help start these conversations with my family.”
“It IS my wedding and I will not have anyone there who 1. Does not support me and 2. Supports a homophobe.”
“I am still 100% firm in my decision and am ready to have a chat with anyone who is upset about it.”
“And thank you for the advice I can give to my mother in terms of advocating for me and telling our family members to f*ck off :)”
“You guys are the best!”
The paradox of tolerance can be difficult to enforce.
The idea is a bit slippery, after all.
Who gets to decide what ‘intolerance’ looks like?
Who gets to choose where to draw the lines?
The person being affected by that intolerance. Always.
We wish the happy couple all the best as they tie the knot.