My Tuesday take: gay rights through the eyes of a child

A ‘Monday motherhood’ post didn’t happen for two reasons: Dad is out of town and soccer can be complicated.  In other words, I’ve been a single parent for the last several days now and sometimes, in club sports, we meet a new kind of ‘crazy’.  I won’t bore you with the details because, well, they’re boring.  And single parents are everywhere, making things work.  Instead, let’s talk about yet another magazine cover, but not one that includes suckling.

President Obama is apparently gay.

Newsweek’s cover this week has him wearing a rainbow-hued halo with the caption “America’s First Gay President”.  Who knew?

But seriously, and you know I’m serious about this issue, I was thrilled when the president decided to share his belief last week that he supports marriage equality for homosexuals.  Those afflicted with the screaming meemies cried ‘political calculation!’ and who could disagree?  Obama is, after all, a politician where everything you say may or may not affect your job security.  But it’s not as if he’s lying.  He does, in fact, support gay marriage.  His interview with Robin Roberts on ABC News laid out his idea that this issue should be handled on a local and state level – I understand his point but respectfully disagree – yet he also shared one of the reasons why he finally ‘came out’ about this now:

“You know, Malia and Sasha, they’ve got friends whose parents are same-sex couples. And I– you know, there have been times where Michelle and I have been sittin’ around the dinner table. And we’ve been talkin’ and– about their friends and their parents. And Malia and Sasha would– it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them. And– and frankly– that’s the kind of thing that prompts– a change of perspective. You know, not wanting to somehow explain to your child why somebody should be treated– differently, when it comes to– the eyes of the law.”

I urge everyone to share with every parent they know this excerpt from the interview and to place themselves at a similar dinner table.  I’ve watched my daughters grow up and I’ve seen how this ‘hate’ thing works.  It’s taught to children like so much else.  In other words, when the girls were two and three-years old, their reaction to someone who looked or behaved differently from them was one of curiosity, not disdain.  Not everyone who is against gay marriage is a hateful person; I know that.  Often, it’s a matter of exposure, of perception, of what I believe to be religious ignorance (I give you the infamous “Letter to Dr. Laura”).

Looking at this controversial issue through the eyes of a child, I dare you not to be moved.  This is from Andrew Sullivan’s article that accompanied the Newsweek cover:

“The core gay experience throughout history has been displacement, a sense of belonging and yet not belonging. Gays are born mostly into heterosexual families and discover as they grow up that, for some reason, they will never be able to have a marriage like their parents’ or their siblings’. They know this before they can tell anyone else, even their parents. This sense of subtle alienation—of loving your own family while feeling excluded from it—is something all gay children learn. They sense something inchoate, a separateness from their peers, a subtle estrangement from their families, the first sharp pangs of shame.”

I don’t know if I have a lesbian daughter.  They’re nine, ten, and twelve-years-old.  But thanks to Mr. Sullivan, I’m now aware that if Goldie, Bun Bun, or Miss T ended up wanting a relationship with a girl named Sue rather than a boy named Bill, the husband and I have a responsibility to ensure they know of their continued, loving place in our family.  It would be nice to know the community outside our front door would shoulder another part of that responsibility: to treat each other equally, in fairness, and give no right to one person that is denied to someone else.

Please share this.

(And I’ll share with you a similar post I came across from mommyhoodnextright.com: “Let’s Be Friends/Taught to Hate”)

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