Should we allow our adult son to bring his same-sex partner to family gatherings? This makes us extremely uncomfortable, and we're also afraid that it may be harmful to the younger children in the family. What do you think we should do?
We'll grant you that this is a delicate situation. But it's not irresolvable. To handle it wisely and appropriately you simply have to find a way to hold two things in balance: respect for your son as an autonomous adult and faithfulness to the dictates of your own conscience. In other words, you need to approach it as you would approach any conflict of values with any friend or peer.
There comes a time in every child's life when he or she crosses the threshold into adulthood. Once this line is passed, the parent-child relationship changes in some basic ways. As an adult, your son is your equal. He has graduated into a position of self-responsibility, in which he is accountable to a higher authority – the authority of God Himself. If he wants to engage in the homosexual lifestyle, he will have to answer to Him for that decision. He's no longer bound by Mommy's and Daddy's rules.
Does this mean that he has the prerogative to adopt a dismissive attitude toward you or to disparage your values and opinions? Absolutely not. As your peer and a guest in your home he is still under obligation to respect your beliefs and standards of behavior. That's not to mention that there is no time- or age-limit attached to the biblical command to honor one's parents; as Paul writes (quoting Exodus 20:12), "'Honor your father and mother,' which is the first commandment with promise: 'that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth'" (Ephesians 6:2).
We suggest that you have a frank conversation with your son before his next visit. Explain that you have strong convictions about God's plan for human sexuality and that your conscience won't permit you to condone what you regard as sexual immorality. He should also be made aware of your desire to protect the innocence of younger family members. Tell him that you love him and that he's always welcome to bring friends into your home. At the same time, make it clear that you cannot allow overt displays of homosexual affection nor any sharing of the same room while he and his partner are under your roof. If he's willing to cooperate, you've achieved your objective. If not, let him know that he and his partner will have to make other arrangements. Help him see that the choice is his to make. And remember that you can have a huge influence in his life through the power of prayer.
Bear in mind that there's a very real sense in which you are engaged in a deeply spiritual battle. You can find a tremendous amount of strength and encouragement for the fight in Beth Moore's book Praying God's Word. This resource is available through the ministry of Focus on the Family and can be ordered by calling our offices or visiting our Online Store.
If you'd like to discuss this situation at greater length with a member of our staff, give our Counseling department a call for a free consultation.
How Should We Respond?
Homosexuality (resource list)