Wednesday, November 05, 2008

For the Sake of the Children

To The People Responsible for Proposition 8 and Accompanying Propaganda,

Yes, I get it. It's not about bigotry, it's all about the children. The children should not be told that gay marriage is normal. The children should not be exposed to things like that. God forbid the children should know that their teacher is married to another lady.

All this is reminding me of the time Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield's ear off. Tyson was losing a boxing match, you see, and in desperation he bit his opponent's ear, hard enough to remove a largish section of it. Even in the world of boxing, this attracted some attention, but Iron Mike had an excuse. He was, he explained, overcome at the thought of his children having to see him lose. He had to do something.

"Yeah?" retorted Holyfield. "What about my kids? Their dad has an ear that looks like a damn doberman's!"

What,you may ask, does this weird little story have to do with same-sex marriage? Just this. Your kids are like Tyson's children. Tyson's kids may have to find out that their dad is not invincible, although God knows, they should not be watching any of his fights unless they are old enough to know that already. Your kids may have to find out that not all families are like theirs, and not all people are the same. They may find out that your values are not universal, and you may have to teach them that those values are still good. Your children, and Tyson's children, are going through a hard but universal experience--realizing that not everyone thinks and acts like you and your family, and your experience is not the only important one.

There are other children who are like Holyfield's children. These are the children with same-sex parents, gay siblings, gay grandparents, gay family friends. These are the children who are themselves going to be gay, who may already realize that they are different in some vague way from most of their classmates. These are the kids who have to watch their parents cry, who are told that their family is not all right because it is different. These are the kids who will have to survive the taunting in a society that goes on believing that two men or two women together can't make a family, can't make a marriage. These are the kids going to schools where you will endlessly lobby to make sure that nothing positive is ever said about gay people. These are the kids whose present and future families are literally having chunks taken out of them by your bigotry.

One last story, this one not a sports parable: A family friend sent out an e-mail during the campaign. She and her wife, parents of Rowan and Rivky had the delightful experience of having to explain to their older child, that it was possible that the law was going to be changed so that two mommies or two daddies couldn't be married.

Rowan thought about that, and came back with a question. "If you aren't married anymore," she asked her mothers, "who will me and Rivky live with?"

You see, in a seven-year-old's world, if two parents aren't married anymore, it means they've gotten a divorce, and they don't live together anymore. There's no room in a seven-year-old's brain for loving each other, and wanting to be together forever, but not being able to get married.

Why should there be room in anyone's mind for such a concept? Will it really help your kids if Rowan is told that her family is second class, and her parents' love is a threat to the innocence of your kids?

Yeah. Right.

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