Dad's Reason for Refusing to Walk Daughter Down the Aisle Sparks Outrage

An uncle offering to walk his niece down the aisle after his homophobic brother declined is being praised online.

Sharing his story on Reddit, user u/ConcernEquivalent744 explained that his brother and his wife had kicked out their daughter at age 17.

As members of a conservative Christian church, they were unhappy when she came out as a lesbian. Fortunately, her grandparents took her in and paid for her to attend college. ConcernEquivalent744 also stepped up, bonding with his niece and trying to provide a "safe space" for her.

A bride crying on church steps
A stock photo of a bride crying on the steps outside of a church. The bride's parents threw her out at 17, after she came out as a lesbian. Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Now 25 years old, his niece is getting married. Her parents have tried to reconnect in the past two years, even attending family therapy, but have decided that the wedding is a step too far for them.

They've asked their daughter to postpone her wedding until they've had "more time to adjust" to the idea, but ConcernEquivalent744 offered to walk her down the aisle instead.

However, his decision to support his niece has caused uproar, with his parents and siblings taking his brother's side on the matter.

Nevertheless, Reddit users backed ConcernEquivalent744, with the post receiving over 12,000 upvotes and more than 1,700 comments.

LGBTQ Adults Are More Likely to Be Estranged From Their Parents

A 2022 study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that gay, lesbian and bisexual adults are more likely to be estranged from their fathers than heterosexual adults.

Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, researchers followed 12,686 Americans between 1979 and 2018. They discovered that 32.1 percent of gay and lesbian participants were estranged from their fathers, as were 36.3 percent of bisexual participants (compared to 21.7 percent of heterosexual people).

Tristan Martin—assistant teaching professor for the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy at Syracuse University, New York—told Newsweek that it's common for LGBTQ individuals to be estranged from their family, but there are things you can do to support them.

Teenager crying while arguing with parents
A stock photo of a teenager crying while her parents look at her disapprovingly. A 2022 study of 12,686 Americans found that LGBTQ people were more likely to be estranged from their fathers. JackF/iStock/Getty Images Plus

"As the first line of support, as an ally, it is important to create a safe space," Martin said.

"Creating a safe space includes validation and kindness, while encouraging authenticity of self."

Although rejection from a parent is a traumatic experience, social support from friends and loved ones can help LGBTQ individuals through the difficult moments.

"As time moves on, a parent may want to reconnect. It is important for the LGBTQ person to lean on their social support to process emotions, expectations moving forward, and the importance of setting boundaries with parents," Martin said.

'Handled This Perfectly'

In his post, ConcernEquivalent744 explained that his religious brother has a difficult relationship with his LGBTQ daughter.

"His wife comes from a conservative christian church, and when they got married after he got her pregnant, he pretty much drank their flavor-aid," he wrote.

When his daughter came out as a lesbian at age 17, they threw her out, but have recently been trying to reconnect with her.

"They've been attending family therapy, and seem to have made some progress in getting over their dumb fairy tale hangups," he wrote.

Two brides walking down a staircase
A stock photo of two brides walking down a staircase with guests throwing confetti over them. A Redditor has written that he has offered to walk his lesbian niece down the aisle because her bigoted parents have objections. KAMPUS/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Last year, ConcernEquivalent744's 16-year-old son came out as gay, and he and his wife were immediately supportive.

"[We] told him straightaway that our lives are better because he's in them, and that who he loves will only ever matter to us as far as making sure that the person he loves makes him happy," he wrote.

His niece is getting married in six months and really wants her parents to attend. However, they described the wedding as a "mental block" for them, and have asked their daughter to move the ceremony back to give them "more time to adjust."

"I told her straight up that... if my brother and sister-in-law are too wrapped up in their own Jesussy Christiness to watch their daughter marry the love of her life, I'll walk her down the aisle instead," ConcernEquivalent744 wrote.

"My brother has... take issue with this. He showed up in a huff and demanded to know where I got off undermining his relationship with his daughter, why I would try to push him out, he has the right to 'give' his own daughter 'away,' etc."

Father and bride entering church
A stock photo of a father entering the church with his daughter on her wedding day. The poster offered to walk his niece down the aisle if her homophobic parents refused to change their beliefs. Stockbyte/iStock/Getty Images Plus

In response, ConcernEquivalent744 reminded his brother that his son is also gay. He feels that, by making allowances for their homophobic behavior, he will be letting his son down.

"I need to make sure that [my son] knows he's safe with us, and I'd be doing a pretty p***-poor job of doing that if I took my braindead homophobe brother's side over my niece's," he continued.

Although his son was proud, ConcernEquivalent744's wife told him that he "could have handled that better." His parents agreed, asking him to be more understanding. His sister also took his brother's side, telling him that he needs to "judge less and listen more."

However, Redditors praised the poster, with TheSecondEikonOfFire writing: "We're in 2023. If you STILL can't fathom the idea of two women getting married then that's your problem."

Engineer-Huge posted: "Sure, it's hard to be someone raised in a conservative religion that takes over your life, but it is NO EXCUSE for being a cruel and bigoted adult."

CJ_CLY commented: "Their daughter is supposed to wait around an indefinite period of time to get married for her parents to be okay with it - after coming out 8 YEARS AGO?"

Redditor minuteye wrote: "[He] is fully capable of walking his daughter down the aisle in six months, but he's the one deciding his relationship with his daughter isn't as important as his own acquired bigotry."

ConcernEquivalent744 isn't the only one to ask for advice regarding homophobic family members. A Newsweek reader wrote in August 2022 to our What Should I Do? column for guidance on attending a "Baptist wedding" with her wife, who "doesn't pass for straight."

Newsweek reached out to u/ConcernEquivalent744 for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.

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