My dad is gay and my mom is straight. They’ve been unhappily married for over 30 years. My dad says my mom doesn’t know, and I’m not sure if she does or not. You might be thinking, ‘of course she knows!’ But you haven’t met my family. We are excellent at the art of avoidance. So excellent, in fact, that if my mom did know, she’d deny it so much that she’d forget she ever knew. Which is pretty much what I assume happens.
With all of the talk about marriage equality going on these days, I wanted to share a perspective that some may not have heard. Yes, you’ve heard from gay people who want to get married, straight people who don’t want them to, and children who want their two mommies or two daddies to be able to walk down the aisle. But what about the perspective of someone who maybe wouldn’t exist if gay marriage were legal? For some of you, that’s a new one.
A dear friend of mine who is adamantly against gay marriage brought the point to my attention one day that if gay marriage were legal and if my dad had chosen that option, I wouldn’t be here. My mom and dad would have never gotten married and created the amalgamation of cells that is me. I had never thought of it that way before and it took me a moment to answer the question. Now that I have had more time to ponder his words, I think I have come up with a much better answer.
True, the amazing person that is me would not exist. But I like to think of it another way. If gay marriage were legal, and my dad chose that option instead, there would be two children out in the world who would have two loving families. One would have a daddy and a mommy and the other would have two daddies. One would be tall and artistic but have two left feet like my dad, and the other would be short and slightly rotund with an affinity for playing piano and HGTV like my mom. One might have my blue eyes that run on my mom’s side and the long fingers that run on my dad’s. And hey, I’m awesome so why would having two parts of me out in the world rather than one whole me be a bad thing? These two children wouldn’t house the knowledge that their father cheats on their mother on a weekly basis. They wouldn’t have to worry where he is on Friday nights when he says he’s at a bar “playing pool,” which is his code word for meeting up with a guy. The kids wouldn’t have to worry if their father is being safe or if he properly checks out his friends’ background before he meets with them. And they wouldn’t have to later find out that when their dad said he was visiting family in New York this past summer, he was actually on a cross country road trip, staying with people he’d never met and would likely never see again.
Is this the life of every child in my situation? Absolutely not. Will legalizing gay marriage stop this from happening? No. I know this. But I can’t help but think that if gay marriage is legalized, the negative stigma associated with it for some would decrease. I want my dad to be able to openly love whom he loves and marry them in front of his friends and family. I want my mother to have a marriage that is fulfilling and full of love and faithfulness. I feel like it’s too late for my parents. They’ve made their choices and to them, appearing to participate in the institution of heterosexual marriage is apparently more important than following their hearts. But it’s not too late for others. It is my sincere hope that gay marriage is legalized and that people all over the country can take vows and exchange rings with those they love.
Going back to the original point my friend posed to me, yes, I may not exist in a world where gay marriage was legalized. But two people would exist in a world full of love and acceptance. And to me, love and acceptance is way more important than one person.