The other day, my friend John linked me onto a tweet from a gentleman in Utah. The man was Paul Mero, president of the Sutherland Institute, a conservative think tank. Mr. Mero’s organization had just submitted an amicus brief in the pending same sex marriage case in Utah, one of which, he is very proud. “A brilliant articulation of the state interest in marriage. Can’t wait for the plantiffs’ non-response,” were his exact words.
Glutton for punishment that I am, I had to search this “brilliant articulation” out. I found it on their website. It was a seven point treatise that pulled numerous unrelated facts together, associated them with ideas they had nothing to do with, and laid out arguments often in complete contradiction. The biggest eye-roller was that the attempt to bring marriage equality to Utah was to turn marriage from a “child-centric” institution to a “consensual-adult” institution. The argument was so passionate, I had to wonder if the last opposite sex couple for whose wedding I officiated would suddenly annul. Ron and Rita are both in their late 50s and would find the idea that they were now to be “child centric” a little disruptive to say the least. I also wondered if the protest that marriage was falling into the pit of “consensualness” was putting a stake in the ground to return to arranged marriages.
In any case, the brief’s later argument contradicted the beginning premise by worrying that if marriage were to be made legal for same sex couples, it would inspire us to have lots of children, and that would be bad. At least it came around to almost admitting that we too might be “child-centric” in our family formations after all.
The “proof” it cites in claiming that having same sex parents is detrimental was an old and discredited source: the Regnerus study. This is the study that surveyed thousands of families (none in person) and included two, only two, lesbian couples, in its data. It included zero gay father lead same sex households. None. It did not stop its exclusion of any true LGBT family research from drawing conclusions about us however, and those fallacious conclusions have made their way into almost every anti-gay legal brief in the US, and into the government state houses of LGBT oppressive nations around the world.
We are approaching Valentine’s Day. Rather than submit logic here on why heterosexual couples are as likely to enjoy consensual relationships with each other, and how same sex couples can be as strongly “child centric”, I decided to go ahead and commemorate the day by BEING child-centric instead. I hope you consent. Mr. Mero is submitting an amicus brief, I am submitting a valentine.
Here is my Valentine. It is not to my partner Jim, whom I adore. He will get his own valentine this weekend. It is to my sons for whom I live and for whom I would die. Jason and Jesse, both eleven years old, were adopted as babies from the foster care system. They were each born to drug addicted birth parents and put in life threatening circumstances. I am the only dad either have ever known.
Dear Jesse and Jason,
Hi guys! It is Valentine’s day and tonight you spent the evening writing out your cards and putting together little gifts for all your school mates. I thrill over the joy and generosity you exhibit in wanting to make sure each person is touched, and that everyone of them knows you care.
My sweet boys, this is my valentine back to you.
You have transformed me. I knew who I really was destined to be the minute I looked into each of your eyes. I thought I knew before then, but I did not know completely. In those two instances, I looked deep and heard my soul mutter, “Hi there, I’m your Dad.” The incredible thing is, that each of you looked back with a gleam that said, “Yes, you are.”
I thought when I was young that I wanted to win an Academy Award someday. (You know, that’s the show where I take over the TV for the night…) Watching you grow, and become the young men you have, has been the greatest honor of my life. Lights, camera….no cinematic action, just one heck of a lot of pride.
I also thought, when I was young, that I wanted to be a super hero. (I know you guys have thought about being ones too!). Here is a secret for you. You made me into one. When you were little, you gave me the power to heal owwies with a single kiss. You each would fall down and cry, and then run into my arms and with just one of my cuddles and a single kiss (sometimes to the owwie itself), waala! It was miraculously healed. The tears dried up and in less than a minute, you were back to your happy self. You also gave me the power of incredible magnetic force—as soon as I walked into your pre-school room, your little bodies came flying at me at an incredible speed and force that it almost always knocked me down. You gave me the power to overcome all adversities against all things yucky. Somehow, someway, I no longer wretched at poopie diapers, vomit covered t-shirts (mine) or spiders, the later of which I was the designated hit man against.
(I will let you know as you enter your teen years that I have developed a keen x-ray vision and ability to hear through walls. You have been officially warned.)
There are people in this world who believe that people cannot love as deeply as we do unless the kids were made by the Dad. Jesse, you got this reaction recently when classmates made faces to you after you told them you have two dads. They were wrong and I hope you never let their mistaken ideas get to you. They just don’t know us.
What they don’t understand is, I did make you. And you made me. None of us would be who we are without the others. We pro-created each other. There are people who believe that if we don’t share the same DNA we cannot have the bond that we do. They are wrong. I don’t cherish my DNA. I cherish you. More than anything, you rock my world.
When people attack families like ours, it does make me angry at times. I too get hurt over the ignorance they display. I feel wounded for the people who suffer at the hands of their opinions. I feel helpless sometimes that I can affect a change. I need to be reminded myself of what I just told you: they don’t know us.
I get reminded when something happens as it did tonight when I came to bed. On my pillow was an item more powerful than homophobia and self-righteousness put together. In the creases of the bed linens was something that makes me invincible. It was a slightly wrinkled, cut out white paper heart with these words scrawled on it:
“I Love You Daddy”
With that, you restored my super powers once again. I am ready to take on the world, and I hope you are too. You both have all my heart, all my soul. You are my Heaven and Earth. Happy Valentine’s Day.
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