Meet Sara Cunnigham, The ‘Mom’ Who Attends Weddings Of Same-Sex Couples When Their Parents Won’t
- IWB Post
- May 11, 2019
“If you need a mom to attend your same-sex wedding because your biological mom won’t. Call me. I’m there. I’ll be your biggest fan. I’ll even bring the bubbles!”- read Sara Cunningham’s Facebook post on 20th July that went viral within hours. So far, the post has racked up thousands of shares and likes and hundreds of emails to Cunningham, praising her and offering to join her in her mission to spread love and positivity.
For her, it was her own son coming out of the closet, that set her on the path she is today. But initially, she found it tough to accept the truth.
“I was… well, I was upset, and yes, afraid for a long time. You see, I grew up learning about faith, how being homosexual is a sin in God’s eyes. I was worried about my son’s salvation, scared that his soul was beyond saving and he was not deserving of God’s grace as he was condemned. I felt like I had to choose between my child and my faith,” she recollects.
“I went to the Church, seeking the solution there. I turned to private Facebook groups for moms going through the same thing. Eventually, I figured it all out, although it wasn’t something that happened overnight. I learned that God loves everyone, regardless of their gender. There is no rule that one can’t be gay and practice their faith at the same time,” she shared, smiling at the memory.
‘What the world needs now; is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing, that there’s just too little of…. not just for some, but for everyone.’ – Hal David #loveislove #theloveofmylife #soulmate #lgbtqcommunity #youdeservelove #joy #happiness #lgbtqia #youareloved #wedding #marriage #samesexmarriage #mamabears #hereforyou #love #pride
686 Likes, 3 Comments – Free Mom Hugs (@freemomhugs) on Instagram: “‘What the world needs now; is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing, that there’s just too little…”
An ordained minister and LGBTQ advocate in Oklahoma, Sara is the Founder of “Free Mom Hugs,” a non-profit organization for other moms who want to change the attitude towards the LGBTQ community.
PSA. If you need a mom to attend your same sex wedding because your biological mom won’t. Call me. I’m there. I’ll be your biggest fan. I’ll even bring the bubbles.
Feeling inspired by her radical thoughts and the amazing work she is doing? Well, we were too and hence, we engaged in a chat with the ‘Mom’ of the year!
Earlier your son was living a fake life, playing the role of someone he was not. What transformation did you witness once you accepted him without any judgment?
He blossomed, Apeksha! My boy used to be this dejected, shy individual, lost in his depression. Now he is a confident, happy, and healthy young man. Seeing this change in him made me realize that though I am an ordinary human being, I possess this great superpower- the ability to spread positivity, love, and hope. It was after that, in 2014, that I attended a pride parade, with my husband in Oklahoma City.
So, how was it, this first interaction with the community?
I realized that these were beautiful, spiritual people. I fell in love with them, their undying spirit and hope. So, I went back to the parade in 2015 and this time I wore a pin I had made myself, that read “Free Mom Hugs.” And anyone who made eye contact with me, I offered a free mom hug or a high five’.
Good for the heart. Sweet for the soul. Everyone needs a hug. #normanpride #makinghistory #lgbtq #love #acceptance #value #mamabear #lgbtqcommunity #youareloved #pride #gayisokay #youarebeautiful #loveislove #weneedyou #youbelong #freemomhugs #saracunningham #unconditionallove #picoftheday
613 Likes, 5 Comments – Free Mom Hugs (@freemomhugs) on Instagram: “Good for the heart. Sweet for the soul. Everyone needs a hug. #normanpride #makinghistory #lgbtq…”
These people are no different from us, so I don’t alter my persona when I meet them, they get the same treatment, as would you or anyone else. Personally, I don’t believe that the LGBTQ community needs to be saved, in fact, it needs to be celebrated. They have been misunderstood for so long that the simple acceptance of them being a natural part of existence is enough.
One, two, three hugs!!! Once the #mamabears get going, there’s enough #hugs for everyone! #thesearmsofmine #youareloved #momsofinstagram #wegotyou #unconditonallove #youarebeautiful #acceptance #love #loveloud #youbeyou #lgbtqcommunity
404 Likes, 1 Comments – Free Mom Hugs (@freemomhugs) on Instagram: “One, two, three hugs!!! Once the #mamabears get going, there’s enough #hugs for everyone!…”
I couldn’t agree with you more. After your Facebook post went viral, you must have been showered with tons of request from same-sex couples who want you to attend their wedding?
Yes! And if I could I would love to attend them all but it all depends on my schedule. But no worries, there are other members of Free Mom Hugs who can attend this auspicious day in their life.
The most heartwarming thing for me was when people responded on my post with the wish to be a part of Free Mom Hugs. They were like “I’ll be there for the weddings as a brother”. Here we were just thinking about giving these couples a mother who will be there for their wedding and now we have brothers, sisters, grandpas, grandmas- every family member that ever rejected them. My heart was overjoyed at seeing that such positivity exists in the world.
But rejection from one’s family is enough to send an individual down a dangerous spiral of depression. What advice would you give to people who often lose their sense of identity when they are shunned by their loved ones?
It gets better, honey. Family members come around. You just hold on to your faith and when your loved ones see that, they start accepting you and caring about what you care about. While this transformation may take some time, don’t you let negativity make your thoughts their home. Be grateful to your parents, realize that for accepting your truth they have to go against what they grew up learning. A pretty tough process, it is.
And even if they don’t come around, then surround yourself with people who’ll love you for who you are.
What a beautiful thought, Sara. You have been part of so many same-sex weddings till date, what has been the most memorable wedding you’ve attended?
It was after the year 2015 when same-sex marriages were legalized in the US. There was this old couple who had been together for 28 years. When the law was passed, they asked me to officiate their marriage. It was like a dream come true for them.
They must have been so happy! You are doing such a wonderful deed, Sara.
Not just me. The entire group of Free Mom Hugs is devoted to embracing, empowering, and educating the LGBTQ community. Our mission is to show them that there is someone looking out for them, that they too have a family.
All dressed up and ready to hug!!! #ineedahug #wegotyou #lgbtqcommunity #pride #prideparade #mamabear #love #panromantic #lgbtqia #youareloved #tshirt #rainbowsocks #beertent #gayisokay #instagay #momsofinstagram #moms #momsquad #trans #pan #human
496 Likes, 5 Comments – Free Mom Hugs (@freemomhugs) on Instagram: “All dressed up and ready to hug!!! #ineedahug #wegotyou #lgbtqcommunity #pride #prideparade…”
And there is no demarcation when it comes to taking in volunteers. Anyone can join us, students, business leaders, teachers, homemakers – our sole aim is to make the world safer, a more loving and accepting place.
Oh, how we wish Free Mom Hugs could bring this positivity to India as well.
We would love to, Apeksha! As a matter of fact, we have contacted women in India but the problem we are facing is that many of them may lose jobs, their husbands may leave them, they will be boycotted by the society for being a part of our group.
But I agree that like other countries, India needs sensitization as well, it needs people who’ll stand up for what’s right. We wish to bring this there, give parents the courage to ditch their ancient beliefs and accept the natural truth of their child, allowing them to flourish as who they are.
This article was first published on September 3, 2018.