It’s the year 2019 and the syndicated column Miss Manners still gets questions from readers intent on engaging in polite homophobia.
A new letter to the column asked how a family of “Biblical believers” can make sure a gay relative doesn’t bring his boyfriend over for Christmas.
“We believe homosexuality to be a serious sin, and do not like being put in the position of appearing to condone it,” reads the anonymous submission.
Judith Martin, the writer behind the Miss Manners nom de plume, calls it presumptuous that “attending a party with this relative and his partner condones homosexuality any more than your presence amounts to a referendum on the private life of anyone else present.”
She also expressed confusion why the writer judges the presence of the boyfriend more than the relative. But ultimately, she asserts the judgmental writer may need to spend a holiday away from the family.
“People have the right to make their own judgments. And if yours precludes extending that, you should make other Christmas plans.”
It’s not the first time a famous advice column has suggested a writer tone down their own intolerance. The late Dear Abby writer Pauline Freeman Phillips famously responded to a 1979 letter complaining about neighbors who allowed a diversity of races, sexual orientations and gender identities to visit.
“How can we improve the quality of this once-respectable neighborhood?” the contributor asked?
“You could move,” Dear Abby responded.
The Miss Manners advice to a 2019 reader may have been less biting, but it still shows little room should exist for hate in polite society.