Casaubon's Book

Gay Marriage as Solid Ground

This video is making the rounds of the internet, and of course, is particularly meaningful to me. Like this young man, I’m the child of a lesbian family with a mother and step-mother. Like him, no one every looked at me and said “you can tell she was damaged by her upbringing in a gay family.”

I wouldn’t add much to his testimony, but because I’m 20 years older, I would add this. Not only are gay families just like everyone else, but gay and heterosexual households demonstrate this over and over again by the way gay marriages and straight marriages derive and build upon one another.

That is, my heterosexual marriage to a man builds upon the model of a loving, commited and stable union shown to me by my mother and step-mother. In fact, in my extended biological family, my mother and step-mother are the ONLY stable, committed relationship that I had to model anything on. One grandmother was widowed before I was born, my other grandparents had long divorced. My parents were divorced. All but one marriage in our extended family involved divorce, and that one wasn’t terribly close to us or one I would have modelled upon.

Everything my two sisters and I learned about how to be happily married, how to be good partners and work through difficulty, about being good parents and part of a healthy family, we learned from our mothers. All three of us are happily married in long-term, stable marriage to good men, all three are parents to children in healthy, strong, loving families. If our mothers hadn’t taken up the gauntlet of making a marriage in a world that denied them legal recognition, we wouldn’t have that ground to stand on. It is the ground on which my own children’s future marriages, gay or straight will also build upon – an establishment of roots that strengthens all the marriages that grow from it.

While not every gay or straight person comes from a healthy family, millions of healthy, strong gay marriages build on a foundation of healthy heterosexual marriages – from their parents they learned to love and be loved, to nurture children and strengthen a family, to work through difficult times and move forward, building a legacy that lasts for generations. Those hostile to gay marriage claim a kind of reciprocity that they cannot demonstrate exists – that the one degrades the other. On the other hand, my sisters and I and thousands of grown children of gay marriages stand testimony to the reciprocity that does exist between gay marriage and straight marriage – the ways in which they build upon and nurture one another and a healthy future.

I hope my sons are as articulate and thoughtful as this young man.

Sharon

Comments

  1. #1 Risa Bear
    December 1, 2011

    Our daughter regularly nails classroom bigots with a beautiful speech about her moms. <3

  2. #2 jay
    December 1, 2011

    Wow…….very impressive indeed !!

    well said……

  3. #3 Tegan
    December 1, 2011

    And he’s 19 years old… good luck to him and his family.

  4. #4 Stephen B.
    December 1, 2011

    I saw this yesterday somewhere else. Beyond what it was he said, his natural speaking ability knocked me over too. I wish the camera had panned back to show the faces of those he was addressing.

    As for his selection of that suit and tie, however, well, I guess we have to keep in mind just how young 19 is.

    I’m temped, as a gay guy myself, to make some comment about his parents failure in letting their son escape the house and address that panel dressed that way, but I think I’ll just point out that yours truly doesn’t usually set a very well-dressed example myself. -Another stereotype busted I guess :-)

  5. #5 starskeptic
    December 1, 2011

    This was HUGH when it first came out – it deserves as much continuing exposure as we can give it: Zach’s testimony in front of the Iowa House of Representatives in Feb., 2011. Zack Wahls spoke out against a resolution which would end civil unions in Iowa

    The resolution passed in a 62-37 vote.

  6. #6 Lise
    December 1, 2011

    I’d seen this video earlier today, and was very impressed. I love what you have to add here. Beautifully put.

  7. #7 Brad K.
    December 2, 2011

    Sharon,

    I think it was 20 or 30 years ago (maybe more?) that angst arose about children raised in lesbian homes in San Francisco being disadvantaged at school. What I recall is that the school board researched the question, and found that children of same-sex couples routinely did better in school than average heterosexual and single family children. The challenge by the “concerned” group of parents quietly went away.

    That news report has stayed with me all these years. Whether fairly or unfairly, it is probably the foundation for my own definition of family — adult(s) raising children.

    Blessed be.

  8. #8 Lisa
    December 2, 2011

    Thank you for posting this, Sharon. Not only does he articulately speak to the power of family, he speaks about community. He calls us, in fact, to a recognition that we all share a great deal in this human experience. And we really do all need each other after all, don’t we?

    And yet, as a lesbian mom in a nearly 25 year relationship, I live in a state that will vote next year on a proposed amendment to our state(MN)constitution to restrict marriage to between a man and a woman. (Word up, Greenpa – I hope you’re rattling some cages out there in the Big Woods!) It’s difficult to see this as the smokescreen that it is – whipping up people’s fears and prejudice – in a time when really? Don’t we have bigger concerns? As times get harder and people get more fearful, I fear for this kind of community response, the kind that excludes and alienates some as a “rational” protection of how things have been.

  9. #9 Wow
    December 2, 2011

    “Don’t we have bigger concerns?”

    But they’re not ones they’re prepared to face the requirements to combat.

    Whereas the pissly little problem of people Not Like Them ™ having children to look after is easy for them to face: YOU will be screwed by law, THEY will have abused you.

    You see, they don’t like you and they want to hurt you.

    Therefore they WANT to concentrate on being the foot stamping down on your head forever.

    Because facing up to the other problems require doing things that affect THEM.

    So they hide from it.

    Yes, pretty pathetic.

  10. #10 Lisa
    December 2, 2011

    @WOW – It IS diffcult to not see it the way you do but I don’t or choose not to (perhaps out of self-preservation). As one straight friend of mine who happens to be a reporter doing a story on this amendment issue said to me, “it’s kind of like a sucker punch to institutionalize this in the state constitution. It’s seems just plain mean.” (It’s already impossible for same sex couples to get married in MN.) And as I was saying to him, I don’t think for most people, that it’s about wanting to be mean but that people are scared for good reason (though not about how much their lives are going to change if their neighbors and family members who are gay are able to get married) and that this issue is an easy, albeit a dangerous, distraction.

  11. #11 Chewinmule
    December 9, 2011

    Watch the “Road to Perdition” and you will also see a young man who knows his father is different and that most people would reject his father and want to hurt him. He too loved his father very, very, much. The “Ice Man” was a mob hit man whose wife and children loved him very much also. This ain’t working on me because I understand what you are attempting to do. It obviously didn’t work on the voters in Iowa. I don’t despise or condone your sexual proclivities and I definitely wouldn’t hurt you because of them. I view you and yours as I do others afflicted with physical or psychological maladies. My understanding and compassion are fully extended at all times and I will defend your liberties and freedoms. I have long since declared “normal people” to be a non sequitur. Neither are you a “special class” (less than 3%). As a Bible believing Christian,it should be my privilege to chose who NOT to have in my faire.

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