March 22, 2013 - submitted by Matthew, New Zealand

Had a big argument with my friend about views on gay marriage and not sure if we will be able to get on from now. Only feel comfortable talking to the almighty Oracle. How do we move on?

The Oracle replies:

We all have views, beliefs, morals, truths and opinions. They are not always shared by those close to us. We have to decide whether we want to accept people for who they are despite the differences.
Many of us are friends with people who are from different cultural backgrounds. The same can be said of race, religion, sex and age. Sometimes those beliefs are held so strong that relationships can be strained. We can run into trouble if we can't respect the right to have a different opinion.
This isn't a case of who is right or wrong - though you don't mention what your view is - it's about your friendship. I am for and would like to think in 2013, the world could catch up with and embrace the changes, but sadly it's never that simple. That doesn't mean I won't be friends with anyone who thinks the opposite to me.
People can be very judgmental but it shouldn't be necessary to force your viewpoint on to anyone else. Debates are all well and good, as is putting a good case across for what you believe in but it doesn't mean you will ever come to the same conclusion so it's knowing when/if to back off.
If you feel that your view is right and your friend's is wrong, you could agree to disagree and make a pact never to discuss it again. If you can't do that your friendship is in jeopardy and you may have to assess how true that friendship is.
Over to you.

Surely, your friend also doesn’t want to lose your friendship. If he wants to, he is no real friend.
So maybe just phone him and invite him to your house. Don’t mention your argument with any word. Just talk a bit, drink something and try to have a good time. Hopefully, you’ll be able to forget everything and move on normally then. Yours, Jule.

You've got to ask yourself what's holding you back from being friends and address it. Is it your friend's views? Do you think they hate you now? Do you not think things will be the same between you now?
The two things you have to remember is that, as Bono said, you only need to agree with someone on one thing to get along. And secondly, time is a great healer. This only has to be a couple of weeks, even.
Wait a couple of weeks, then maybe send your friend a link to something cool on Facebook. Just start a conversation about something you both have in common, and you'll remember why you were friends in the first place. Mark.

It’s not clear if it was concerning you both as a couple - or were there just two different opinions clashing about this subject in generally? In that first case I’d say every couple has to find out if or when a marriage would be the right thing or not and it’s not unusual or a point of no return having a controversy about this.
About the other thing - I assume that’s what the problem is: It is your own decision with whom you want to be friend with or not. If some people have views in questions of principles which are absolutely not compatible to yours, you still can be polite and respectful, but it can ban them from a friendship with you.
Now aside from the romantic aspects, marriage exists as a religious idea, but it is also a profane and legal institution of spending a life together. To spend a life together, to care or being responsible for each other is not a question of biology or gender, but of maturity. The last one I would be doubtful about, when your friend can’t handle with a disagreement of opinions. Probably he has to learn a lot, maybe he can start with asking childless couples how they do think about relationship and marriage. Even adopted children rather would grow up in a peaceful same-gender family than in a disastrous violent hetero one. I hope things will turn out well for you. L.Q.

I think it depends on how strong your opinions are. If one or both of you feel really strongly about it, your relationship will probably suffer. If you think your friendship is more important than how you feel about gay marriage, you could probably just work it out and accept your differences. Just avoid the subject and everything would eventually be back to normal (although I don't suggest this as it's probably not healthy). However in subjects like these, morals are often questioned, making it hard to move on from if you think they're bad people. If that's the case, its important to remember that its better to just be honest with yourself and not ignore it. You choose the people you're close to and you also set standards for them. Try not to be too upset, though. What separates you from one person, might bring you closer to another. Hope this helps. Love, Darem.

So, I think that besides the arguments and the fights that you can have with your friends, it should be easy to get over them. I mean, if he's a really good friend of yours you cannot just walk away from him. That's what I'd do if I was you: I'd see if we can talk about the thing without arguing about it, talking and sharing ideas in the most democratic and calm way possible, and then if you can't find a resolution and the problem still doesn't disappear, I suggest you to forget about that. If you're really attached to him and you don't want to lose him go, just talk about the issue anymore. Just let the night give you advice, then maybe the next morning you'll see everything more simple than it looks! Letizia, Rome.

It's sad to think that ANYONE argues about gay marriage. I mean, c'mon, what on earth is anyone's problem with it? I couldn't be friends with someone who can't accept gay marriage because I would wonder deep down if they are homophobic and that is something I can not and will not tolerate. Mike.

My friend is gay and I love her no matter what. However, I don't really agree with gay marriage. A civil partnership is fine. This question made me ask myself why I don't agree and I think I am just stuck in traditional values from growing up with religious parents. That said, I don't see many marriages that look any good so maybe all marriages should be ditched! Portia.

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