Today's question: Some gays and lesbians live in committed relationships and symbolized that union with a religious rite, although legally they are not recognized as married. In most social situations you can imagine, if you were asked to introduce the couple before a meeting, would you usually honor the couples' self-description or avoid doing so for reasons of tact or personal conviction?
The Rev. Warner Traynham
Rector, St. John's Episcopal Church, Los Angeles
I believe gay people should be able to have their continuing relationships recognized in law and by religious rite as heterosexuals do. Therefore, I would not wish to mask the fact for reasons of tact or conviction. Further, if it were appropriate to introduce these persons as a couple, out of respect and in the absence of conventional terms, I would have to use any reasonable term that they might use to describe themselves, such as lover, partner, mate, etc. Terms like "married" or "husband and wife" open up other issues of accuracy and traditional meaning that I would probably want to avoid.