DEAR ABBY: I am being married this summer to my fiancee of five years, "Beth." I had always assumed that my brother, "Mike," who is also my best friend, would be my best man. Mike is gay.
When I asked him, I was stunned at his response. Mike said he loves me and Beth, but refuses to be part of a ceremony celebrating something for which he is discriminated against emotionally, financially and socially. He refuses even to attend.
Now that I have been forced to confront this issue, I realize my brother is right. Beth thinks he should "get over it," and he needs to accept that it's just "the way things are in the world."
As hurt as I am, I can't hold against my brother his refusal to participate in what he refers to as a "reminder that he is considered a second-class citizen without the same civil rights" as I have.
How can I handle this without turning it into something that could overshadow what is supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life? -- DISAPPOINTED IN WESTLAKE, OHIO
DEAR DISAPPOINTED: By respecting your brother's decision, and reminding your bride-to-be that accepting the status quo is not always the best thing to do. Women were once considered chattel, and slavery was regarded as sanctioned in the Bible. However, western society grew to recognize that neither was just. Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain have recognized gay marriage, and one day, perhaps, our country will, too.