DEAR MISS MANNERS: Some years ago, my now 93-year-old mother discovered a very distant relative living in her city, whom she has introduced into our family and who is usually included in family gatherings. He is homosexual and has been bringing along his uninvited male friend over the past couple of years.
As committed Biblical believers, we believe homosexuality to be a serious sin, and do not like being put in the position of appearing to condone it. However, we also feel that each person should have the right to make their own judgments, and so have not said anything about this to the distant relative yet.
However, now he is assuming that his man friend is to be included in our Christmas celebration. I sent an email to my brother and cousin and copied this relative, saying we would like to come up for Christmas, to which he responded that he and this man (whom I did NOT include) would be available. I feel that this is presumptuous, but am at a loss to know how to put a stop to it without causing offense.
GENTLE READER: What strikes Miss Manners as presumptuous is the idea that your attending a party with this relative and his partner condones homosexuality any more than your presence amounts to a referendum on the private life of anyone else present. Or their presence on yours.
But even if that were so, she would still be at a loss to understand how it would apply only to the companion, but not to the relative.
Miss Manners would think that a bit of good will toward all would be appropriate for the holiday. But, as you say, people have the right to make their own judgments. And if yours precludes extending that, you should make other Christmas plans.