Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Let's tell all children that their family structure is equal to all others

The Tuesday New York Times article on pending same-sex marriage legislation in Washington state highlights the politicians, including Governor Christine Gregoire, who have switched their positions and now support the bill that would authorize same-sex marriage there.  So far so good.

The problem lies in how the Governor explained her support. “Let’s tell the children of our same-sex couples," said the Governor in her State of the State address, "that their parents’ relationship is equal to all others in the state.”  In a similar vein, State Senator Rosemary McAuliffe, a recent pro-same-sex marriage convert, said this: “I met the families, I met the children of those families, and I had the realization that it is our responsibility to protect all of our citizens against discrimination.”        

Now I understand the argument that denying access to marriage to same-sex couples sends a message that our relationships are not as valuable as those of different-sex couples.  And I certainly oppose discrimination.  But that includes discrimination against the families of children whose parents don't marry -- gay or straight.  I want the large percentage of children born to unmarried couples to feel that their family structure is equal to that of their classmates with married parents.  And what about the children raised by grandparents or other relatives (including those raised by gay or lesbian grandparents or other relatives)? or by single adoptive parents (plenty of gay and lesbian folks doing that as well)?

If we're talking about validating and affirming the equal value of all families, let's really do that.

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