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.