My 13 year old daughter wrote this on her own Facebook wall, posting with a link to Macklemore’s Same Love song. I was nearly in tears when she played this song for me, and later found she had posted this:
This song is really remarkable to me. It talks about how Gay/Lesbian people can't change who they are. It is not a choice, and it's not a bad thing. People get scared of what they don't understand, and this is a huge issue. The people who want to keep other people "normal" are the ones with the biggest problems. Being attracted to the same gender is not a bad thing. It doesn’t hurt anyone. Why do you get a right to marry the person you love, and people like my parents don't? What makes you better than them and more worthy of things such as health care and paying jobs? Is it because they are different and don't fit into your box of what is right and wrong? It's time to end stereotypes, the ban on gay marriage, and racism. Just because you don't see these things do not mean they are not there. I believe in gay marriage and I believe in action. These things will not go away unless we fight them and stop them.
I love how some people like to portray gay parents as not being good parents, including the new pope. I find that we make better parents because we must work to have children. No "accidents" of birth, and we must often defend our rights as parents. In addition to being scrutinized by society and religious organizations, we must face legal issues of adoption and marriage, health insurance inequality, and survivorship benefits may be nonexistent.
We have been together for 17 years. We attend all the school conferences and now support extracurricular activities. We are very active in our synagogue and always attend the school functions and volunteer help or donations. We and our children are respected members of the community, and often receive praise for their behavior and for how we are raising them. They are disciplined appropriately for infractions, do well in school, and have limited computer and TV time. We camp, travel, and visit museums. On the outside, we function like any other family.
I have not seen any sign of the ground breaking open to swallow us, or the sky falling. There do not appear to be any rips in the universe, or any significant ripples throughout the society of our small community. Children have been welcome to spend the night at our home, and we frequently have teenage girls sleep over. They like us. We even make our young guests eat their vegetables before dessert, and they still like us.
What I do know is that my daughter is old enough to understand the different treatment and different perception from the public regarding our family. She understands that some people will hate her mothers for no other reason than because we are a couple. She does not feel any difference between our family and other families where there is a mom and a dad. I know that we give her everything she needs, including the stereotypical male skills (other than an obsession with televised organized sports). I also know that she is very girly, and loves playing with her hair and make-up. She learns about make-up from friends and social media since she can’t get it from me. She likes boys, but respects herself enough to see through some of the motives of the boys when they talk about “dating” (13 year old style). I teach her about history, nature, language, books, the major importance of our relationships with other people, and respect for people of varying races, creeds, genders, and sexuality. She often acts as a mediator in the social dramas at school, and has been a champion for kids who are gay, abused, or bullied. She has been taught the significance of our impact on society socially and politically, our responsibilities, and the insignificance of our own egos. She has taught me a thing or two about current culture, and is able to give me a feel for how kids view gay relationships. What she does feel is that we are not treated the same as other citizens. That puts her in the position of potentially feeling that she is perceived in a lesser capacity than other kids because of the relationship that I share with her other mother. I/we worried about this from the beginning. If she has ever suffered directly from this, I was not aware, but she should not feel that her value or our family’s is less than that of any any other child.
Does the act of sexual intercourse define a marriage, or social intercourse? In my mind it is social intercourse that defines a marriage far more than a sexual act. How can a sexual act define a marriage when it is something that is shared privately between two individuals, never to be on display? Should a marriage be defined by a few words in a 2000 year old book that has been mistranslated, and was recorded in a society that bears no resemblance to the one we share today? I would like to think that society has evolved. Until people can use their own eyes and ears to form judgments rather than blindly accepting the beliefs someone else gives them, marriage will continue to be viewed by a sexual act that no one will witness. Social intercourse will allow people to make their own judgments by working alongside us, going to school with us, playing games with us and worshipping with us. So far, I have not heard complaints from anyone I have encountered with my family. On the contrary, I have heard praise from all sources regarding my family, my children, and how they are being raised. So, why should I not have a legally recognized marriage, with all the legal benefits and security afforded every other married couple and their children? That marriage certificate offers my children a safer place in our society. Fortunately there are organizations like the NCLR helping to make it all happen, one bit at a time. To quote Macklemore, “a certificate on paper may not solve it all, but it’s a damn good place to start”.