One gay couple in Austin, Texas was just reminded that, politically speaking, they live in the eye of the storm.
As the couple's wedding approached, appeasing the desires of family members throughout the state became difficult.
And believe it or not, the gay part was the least of the drama.
A 27-year-old man on Reddit is gearing up for the big day, when he'll tie the knot with his partner of 5 years. The venue is picked, invitations sent and the event's finer details have been discussed and decided.
But now—late in the game—his 25-year-old fiancé's extended family is throwing a wrench into the whole process. One person had qualms about the chosen menu and—seemingly overnight—guests are dropping like flies off the RSVP list.
It all traces back to a plant-based dispute that he had with one of the aunts.
They had a terse exchange on the phone, things have snowballed and now he's being called to apologize, a move he is adamantly opposed to.
But he's feeling the moral heat, so much so that he posted to Reddit's "Am I the A**hole (AITA)" thread, a place where a user posts some recent drama in their lives and asks exactly that, whether they indeed are the moral culprit at hand.
"veganweddingthrowawa," as he goes by on Reddit—though he did ask for judgment—had no problem taking liberties in his descriptions along the way.
He begins by giving a sense of a common Pandora's Box scenario.
The love of his life comes with some drawbacks.
"I love this man very much, but his family is from East Texas and can be difficult."
"His family is chock-full of Southern Hospitality, the kind of cloying sweetness that insults and degrades you under the guise of pageant smiles and practiced peals of laughter. It calls you stupid when it compliments you and packages its prejudices in its niceties. If you've been to the South, you know the type."
He moves on to the specific difficulties brought by wedding planning in that universe.
"Andrew has always wanted a big wedding, so we planned on doing so where we live in Austin. Andrew's family is huge, so most of the invites are for his side. We heard some grumblings when we announced the venue, but it was no big deal."
"I am vegan and have been for 9 years now. Andrew is vegetarian but not vegan. The rest of his family is meat-eatin' country folk."
"When we sent out the actual invites which mentioned a vegan dinner, you'd think we had announced an immediate consummation of the marriage in the form of a gay orgy with all our friends at the altar."
"So many people called us, SO OFFENDED we would make our wedding vegan. We were polite in informing them we would not be serving meat."
And one relative outshined the rest.
"Most of them relented, but not Sweet Great Aunt Gale. She's a stubborn 60-year-old with a brood of 7 children and 18 grandchildren."
"Sweet Gale could not fathom eating a vegan dinner and said it was no meal fit for her growing grandkids. She demanded that we change the menu. We kept telling her no.
Things came to a head when Gale shed those "pageant smiles" he mentioned earlier.
"Late last year, we were facetiming her and some of her preteen Satan Spawn. She was 'teasing' us to change the menu to accommodate a 'sweet ol' gal' like her.' "
"Andrew went to the bathroom. She quickly told me while he was gone that she would 'put up with a pansy wedding, but there's no way in hell [she'd] let her kids eat like pansies.' "
"I was fed up and told her, 'Then don't f*cking come,' and hung up. Oh, the indignation."
But the phone conversation by no means occurred in a vacuum.
This feud would ripple.
"Within 24 hours, we received texts and calls from 15 different family members, so aghast that I could be so rude to Sweet Gale. Andrew is not quite fond of Sweet Gale and was on my side when I told him what we said, but Sweet Gale was not forthcoming about the conversation."
"I allegedly used vulgar language and insulted her when she was asking innocent questions about the food."
Our narrator finds himself under mounting pressure, so much evidently that he felt the need to call in the reinforcements that are ALWAYS there for you: strangers on the internet.
"Due to that incident, about 20 people have told us they wouldn't be coming unless I apologized due to how I treated Gale. I say great, more pansy food for me."
"My fiancé wants me to apologize as he wants a big wedding, and Gale not coming means many others won't come."
"I told him I'm not apologizing until she fesses up about what she really said to me. He knows she won't and wants me to be the bigger person. I'm refusing." AITA?
The largest part of the Redditors in the thread took his side.
They saw no moral wrongdoing on his part and totally judged Gale's picky eating.
"My god nobody will die if they don't eat meat for 1 day. She can go home and have a massive steak if it's so much of an issue for her." -- pasifaya
"I cannot believe they can't go one day without eating meat. ONE DAY." -- Emipedro7
"Your wedding, you choose the menu. If the little snots want meat so badly, they can pick up some McD's on the way to the venue."
"I guess if I was in your shoes I would try to talk to her and smooth things over just because you're marrying into the family and that's a hard way to start off, however, I don't think you owe her that at all." -- gnjm
"Keep standing up for yourself and your big day! They can eat their meat and be homophobic in grand old Texas. The quality of the guests should be more important than the quantity, in my opinion." -- sunnyskybaby
Some zeroed in on Gale's sneaky approach to homophobia.
"How is the fact she called this a 'pansy wedding' not the bigger issue here? Why don't you tell your in-law family that you're not inviting someone who uses derogatory terms about your sexuality WHILE making demands?!"
"I'm sure there's a lot of amazing queer folk in Austin who'd be happy to fill up your venue, eat a great vegan dinner and dance the night away." -- BaddestPatsy
" 'Be the bigger person' to a bigot and a homophobe? Why?" -- Narshalla
"She used a homophobic slur against you. She needs to apologize to you."
"It's pretty amazing calling someone a pansy while at the same time not being able to handle one meal without meat." -- ChargingWirelessly
"First she insulted you, lies about what you said, then paints herself as the poor lady who was just making innocent suggestions to her family. To hell with that lol. That manipulative old lady can pound rocks." -- o0oDreamWeavero0o
There were a handful of Redditors that felt the narrator could have avoided escalating things.
"Everyone is probably going to say that you're not the a**hole because Aunt Gale had it coming. And she definitely did, but you lost your temper with her. This puts your fiance in an awkward situation with his family. So in that way, you were an **hole to him."
"Swallow some of your pride and do this for your soon to be husband. Note the apology would only be for using foul language, not for having a meatless wedding. You can double or triple down on that." -- jeffsang
"This was CERTAINLY provoked, but there's a reason you don't do stuff like this with your SO's family. This should be [his] responsibility, they are his family, and you don't get to unilaterally decide that some of them are not invited." -- Windrunnin
A couple of people even had some creative ideas for rubbing salt in the wound.
"Tell your soon to be that your reply to Gale will be, 'Bless your heart, I know that you're working with only one oar in the water.' Any southerner Gale's age will get that insult in a heartbeat." -- happypumpkin1020
"As an aside, pansies (the flowers) are delicious and a cheerfully colourful addition to a green salad. Just throwing that out there."
"Seriously. Please serve literal pansies. And then FB and Instagram the hell out of it. And tag Gale." -- Narcdoff
Whether Aunt Gale and her faction attend the wedding will remain a mystery to us.
But if Reddit advice is any indication, she will spend that evening far from this marriage celebration with a giant slab of meat in hand.
*If you enjoyed this article, you can read more like it by clicking on the AITA link below.*
The book The Budget-Friendly Vegan Cookbook: Healthy Meals for a Plant-Based Diet is available here.