A reader writes:
The second reader note in this post drove me crazy. You don't have to talk about sex at all to explain gay couples to children.
I realize SF isn't typical, but last year when gay marriage officially began its (sadly truncated) run, my daughter's preschool made a special field trip to City Hall to hand out flowers to newlyweds. Her teacher, an older, straight white woman, felt it was important for the children to see the history that was happening around them, and she prepared them. She told them that it used to be that a boy could only marry a girl and a girl could only marry a boy, but now you can marry whoever you love. My 4-year-old understood that perfectly, and I teared up when she came home and explained it to me, and told me about how the people had smiled when the children gave them their flowers.
I understand (a little) being shy to talk about sex with your kids, but being unable to talk about love seems just terrible.
My partner and I had been living together for a about eighteen months when his three nieces came to our home for the first time. Although they had no problem with the idea that Uncle Aaron and Uncle Clay loved each other, they were very much bothered by the fact that we weren't married. Their discomfort was one of the reasons we had a big, traditional commitment ceremony. About ninety people attended, and we made sure his nieces were among them.
Although the ceremony they witnessed was not legally binding, we went to Canada for a honeymoon, and had a small legal ceremony there. Our marriage still is not recognized by our home state, but it's recognized by our family, and our nieces aren't uncomfortable any more.
My daughter attended a Quaker daycare when we lived in Philadelphia. One month her class (of three and four year olds) discussed the theme of family and each child drew a picture of her/his own family. Caroline brought home her picture showing her father, myself, little sister and our two dogs. After discussing the picture for a few minutes, I asked her about her classmates' families. Two of her recollections come to mind now.
First, one little boy whose parents went though an acrimonious divorce when he was an infant. His family picture included his mother and grandparents. The other, one of a girl in her class, included two mommies, a little sister, and a dog. I remember remarking to her, "Wow, how great it is to have two mommies to love you". And she responded, "Yeah, that is pretty cool."
On many occasions, we have met other families, with two mommies or two daddies, and I have waited for questions from my children. There have been none. Perhaps its because they see my husband and I embrace our gay friends, in our home and in church, and speak of their relationships just like we would our own. If, and when there are questions, the theme of love will be my central theme.
Know hope Andrew. Equality will happen.