It’s the queer Hallmark movie we’d pay money to see. A sweet, engaged lesbian couple, dreaming of their big day, receive the gift of a lifetime when a beloved aunt steps in and offers to host the couple at her country estate. Nevermind that the aunt, one Amy Grant, has been a mainstay in the gospel community and a household name in Christian homes for decades. Love, after all, is love.
Grant told the Washington Post that she and husband Vince Gill planned to host her niece’s wedding — their “first bride and bride wedding,” she called it — at their Hidden Trace Farm in Franklin, Tennessee, just outside Nashville.
The singer-songwriter said when she learned that her niece is a lesbian, her reaction was, “What a gift to our whole family, to just widen the experience of our whole family,” adding, “Honestly, from a faith perspective, I do always say, ‘Jesus, you just narrowed it down to two things: love God and love each other. I mean, hey — that’s pretty simple.”
If there’s a villain in this real life fairytale, it might just be Franklin Graham, who is doing a bang up job stepping into his late father’s hateful shoes. The elder Graham, Billy, was often viewed through a more charitable lens — he was known in some circles as a great “evangelical uniter” — but no doubt his sentiments on homosexuality had a lasting impact on Franklin. “We traffic in homosexuality at the peril of our spiritual warfare,” Billy wrote in a newspaper advice column in the ‘90s.
Fast forward a few decades and the anti-LGBTQ+ Graham legacy lives on, loud and proud, in Franklin, who recently urged Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to repent for the sin of being gay. In response to Grant’s news, Franklin wrote on Facebook, “God defines what is sin, not us; and His Word is clear that homosexuality is sin.”
Meanwhile, Grant recently made headlines when she was recognized at the Kennedy Center Honors as the first contemporary Christian musician to receive the award. When queer country music star Brandi Carlile presented Grant and the band U2 with the honors, Carlile said, “They walk through the world with love and justice on their sleeve. They operate from a basis of their faith, and as a person sort of marginalized by major world religions and faith structures, the way that they’ve embraced LGBTQIA publicly I think does a lot for my people and for the trauma that we have experienced at the hands of the faith and organized religion.”
Twitter user @RobinCook summed up the sentiments of many in the LGBTQ+ community, tweeting, “In a world of Candace Cameron Bures, be an Amy Grant.”
In a world of Candace Cameron Bures, be an Amy Grant. https://t.co/wCxqKdx1R4
— Robin (@RobinCook) December 11, 2022
Emerson Collins, star of the movie “Southern Baptist Sissies,” which features the late, great Leslie Jordan, tweeted, “For so many of us gay church boys of a specific era, Amy Grant was our first kind of crush/pop star, so seeing her host her niece’s same-sex wedding is amazing.”
For so many of us gay church boys of a specific era, Amy Grant was our first kind of crush/pop star, so seeing her host her niece’s same-sex wedding is amazing. https://t.co/HXwMGe9NaR
— Emerson Collins (@ActuallyEmerson) December 14, 2022
Despite all the hoopla, it should be noted that Grant has been open about her views on LGBTQ+ issues. Way back in 2013, the singer told Pride Source, “I know that the religious community has not been very welcoming, but I just want to stress that the journey of faith brings us into community, but it’s really about one relationship. The journey of faith is just being willing and open to have a relationship with God. And everybody is welcome. Everybody.”