Why I, a Conservative Christian, Sold Bridal Gowns to a Lesbian Couple…

lesbian coupleSome years ago, before the hype about LGBT rights and the wars over it were so intense, I worked in a bridal shop. As a stay-home mom, with five children ages 4 through about 11, I wasn’t looking for work when it happened…

How it started that I went shopping for bridal gowns with a few soon-to-be-wed friends, on several occasions, I don’t recall. But after visiting one bridal shop numerous times, the owner approached me and asked if I’d like to work Saturdays part time. She had observed me when I brought friends in, and felt I would be a good match.

Starting a week later, I tried my hand at sales in bridal wear and did quite well in both sales and connecting with customers. Trying to get inside the head of a bride is… well, interesting and dangerous. You don’t want to go in too deep; just enough to understand her wants and needs.

One thing that had not even crossed my radar, is the potential of a lesbian couple coming in for dresses, or how I would handle such a thing. It never occurred to me ahead of time…

Two women came in, each trying on dresses. One was easy enough to ‘fit’; she had that ‘perfect’ bride body. The other was more difficult, with a figure much harder to accommodate. (Why are most dresses made for fairytale brides, with fairytale waistlines when we come in all shapes and sizes?) Option after option was turned down. Finally we found one or two that landed on a ‘maybe’ pile, but she asked us to put them on hold while she continued her search elsewhere, as she was still unsettled. And with that the two friends were off.

As the door closed behind them, the owner commented that they only have a few weeks until their wedding,  and went on to explain that as a Catholic, albeit not the most devout one, she didn’t agree with gay marriage.

“How do you know they’re lesbians?” I asked. I hadn’t heard either of them mention it. The owner said this was certainly not their first time in shopping, and they had told her on a previous visit.

I thought then about the dresses on hold…. I thought about my own faith… I thought about my family and marriage values…

And when Sarah returned with her soon-to-be-bride in tow, I pulled out the dress, helped her with fitting, and marked the alterations. I spoke with her just as I would have, had I not known. And when all was said and done, Sarah had a dress for her gay marriage.

That was me. That was my response. And if I was confronted with the same scenario today, I would probably do it the same way again. And I’d think about my faith, and my family, and my marriage values and probably breathe a silent prayer for her. And when they would leave, I would hug them like I would hug every other enthusiastic bride who just bought her dream dress… if they initiated such a hug. And I would do this because I don’t feel it violates my faith in Jesus, or undermines my (very strong!) family values, or challenges my personal belief in the Jesus-definition of marriage.

Even so, having responded this way back then, and assuming I would again, I think not one of us should be forced against our wills, to do that which violates our conscience, and therefore I support Kim Davis. (Personally, I would probably resign if it was that offensive to me, but that, again, is me. It’s obviously not Kim.) She was elected, if my understanding is accurate, to sell marriage licenses before this conflicted law was imposed on her, and her conscience doesn’t allow this new requirement.  Of course, when her term is up, this can be revisited and she will likely be looking for work elsewhere.

Personally, while I chose to help the lesbian couple, I also understand those who choose not to for conscience sake. And while I understand those who choose not to do as I did, I also understand how ignorant that must seem to those who see the world through a very different lens than conservative Christianity. Whenever every person is offered freedom of speech–or people assume they have the right to be honest–there will be a collision of beliefs and someone will be offended.

Both sides have valid points. As a believer I don’t expect the world around me to live up to what I believe, and am not surprised they are upset when such standards are imposed on them. I expect their beliefs and lifestyles to be different than mine, and I expect them to want to be ‘respected’. By the same token, those with a conscience against certain things want to have their religious freedom granted and conscience respected. They’re as determined to live at peace with their consciences as the homosexual community is determined to have their rights met. Inevitably, this ends in stale-mate pretty much every time. One is unwilling to offend their conscience, and the other often hell-bent on being served by that particular person or organization. (And whether, for the Christian, it really is ‘for conscience sake’ or seizing an opportunity to ‘make a statement’… or whether, for the gay couple, the determination to be served is driven by that particular business or individual being the best in their field, or whether it is intended to create a scene, is a matter only the individuals can speak to.)

My personal goal is to be charitable and compassionate, even when it is unpopular in my Christian culture, and always to remain true to my conscience and never compromise what I believe, for the sake of comfort, approval or the popular vote.

~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

8 thoughts on “Why I, a Conservative Christian, Sold Bridal Gowns to a Lesbian Couple…

  1. Invisible Mikey September 12, 2015 / 6:11 pm

    I applaud your compassionate stance. There’s an important distinction between government and private enterprise. You qualify customers primarily based on their willingness and ability to pay. Government has a greater responsibility to serve the entire public within the boundaries of law, whatever the law is, even if the law changes (which for pity’s sake is quite common). There’s a hierarchy to government since we are a nation of laws rather than a dictatorship. At the top, legislators, executives and courts determine law through a system of checks and balances. There are many more functionaries below this level, including law enforcement and clerks. Clerks can have personal opinions about law, as all private citizens can, but they do not have credential or qualification to offer a PROFESSIONAL opinion or objection concerning law.

    This is the perfectly ordinary fork in the road people go through every day when a boss, a business, in this case governmental superiors ask something of a worker they might object to personally. There are only two legitimate responses – submit, or quit. Mrs. Davis acted outside her scope of practice in violation of the voluntary oaths she took, ordered subordinates to violate a court order as she had, and restricted the right of legally qualified applicants to receive their forms. She fully earned her penalty, and if she returns to work and tries to obstruct again, she will earn additional deserved penalty.

    It has nothing to do with standing up for her beliefs. She promised the people of her state to do a job. She doesn’t get to keep taking that unusually high salary, the earned money of taxpayers, for refusing to do the job, no matter what her justification is.

    • Trudy Metzger September 12, 2015 / 6:18 pm

      Thank you Mikey. As I said, I would resign if something offended me so badly…. but that’s me.

      As for the ‘law changing’ part of the argument, as well as the being an elected official, I will borrow what my friend David Lewis shared on Facebook:
      “While she was elected to uphold a law there are two problems (of many) with saying that meant she should have issued licenses. 1. No new law was written, just that one was deemed unconstitutional; therefore a void exists within her job where it is hard to say “well this is exactly what you should do”, by saying the marriage laws are unconstitutional then a clerk should not technically issue any licenses until a constitutional law exists. 2. The region where she lives, the majority agreed with her. Honestly I think that is one reason the judge released her as he is elected as well and realized popular opinion was against her. Where elected officials are asked to interpret the law then they are going to interpret according to what they think will get them elected.”

      How all things work in all states, provinces, regions or countries is not something I am well versed in. I’ve heard many arguments, from both sides, and end up with more questions….

      • Invisible Mikey September 12, 2015 / 6:48 pm

        It sure is confusing and complicated, I agree. Judge David Bunning is not an elected official. He was appointed by President George W. Bush. He does not personally support same sex marriage, but still does his job per his oath of office. He demands the same of clerks, who have no standing to redefine law.

        The “no law was written” argument is why I referred to the checks and balances. The SCOTUS has a power granted in the Constitution called Judicial Review. They can’t write laws, but they CAN invalidate laws if they determine them to be unconstitutional. Back when they decided the case regarding same sex marriage, it made ALL laws in ALL states void that denied CIVIL marriage rights on the basis of the gender of two consenting adults. This does not mean there are now no laws in place, only that gender cannot be used to qualify applicants for civil marriage. All other qualifications (such as age, not being already married etc.) remain in force. And it doesn’t have anything to do with RELIGIOUS marriage. Some people are confused and worried about that. Not everyone is Christian, and civil marriage is available even to those with no religion.

        It doesn’t matter if the majority disagrees when the SCOTUS rules a law unconstitutional. The majority in the South supported segregated schools back when they were ruled unconstitutional. I’m 61. I remember very well George Wallace using Biblical justifications for trying to block desegregation. We discussed it a lot in school, and at church. I realize this sort of change will be uncomfortable for many people to adjust to, and I do have sympathy for that. But the change is here. The Kim Davises of this country will have to submit or quit, like the rest of us working stiffs.

      • Trudy Metzger September 12, 2015 / 8:29 pm

        Thank you for explaining all of that so thoroughly; it makes a lot more sense. I have a lot of thoughts, questions and opinions… but at the end of the day I try to live my Christian faith with passion and conviction, and always with love for God and my fellow man… And I fail enough at that so I won’t go judging the Kim Davis or the rest of the world around me. What I’m convinced about, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that my God is a loving Heavenly Papa, and He wants to reflect that love through me. So that’s my goal. 🙂

      • Invisible Mikey September 12, 2015 / 8:33 pm

        I want to follow that same example – compassion first, last and always. Thanks for the interesting discussion.

  2. aj September 12, 2015 / 9:32 pm

    First time on this blog, and not only great post, but I’m so so impressed by that conversation that went on up there! ( between Trudy and invisible mikey) Its so refreshing to see Christs love, rather then people wanting to prove their own opinion without love, like we’re so used to seeing in the comments! Its so easy to judge, looking in on others experiences, not knowing all the details, and how we would react if in others situations. I pray for wisdom to act in the moment, or not to act. God bless!

    • Trudy Metzger September 12, 2015 / 9:47 pm

      Welcome aj! It’s been good for me too, to see charitable and grace-filled conversation… and to even participate. I have not always done this perfectly. But I suppose we are all human… What has changed how I respond–not my position–is working very closely with individuals (all conservative Christians) who have been in same-sex relationships, or who are struggling with their sexuality in general. It has made me compassionate and understanding, without all the pat answers, in spite of what I believe. And I’m learning it is all about relationship, first with God and then with one another.

      Blessings to you!

  3. Deann September 13, 2015 / 3:55 pm

    I think I would sell them gowns, also. I am an extremely “conservative” Christian.
    I work in L&D, and have helped deliver babies to lesbian couples, to heterosexual couples just living together, and married women-but not married to the father of the baby… All not biblical relationships. If I refuse to take care of one of these couples, I am just picking which sins to

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