One objection to marriage equality that I encounter frequently is the argument that allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry damages family institutions. First, there’s the assertion that marriage equality somehow fucks up existing marriages. I don’t get this. How does whom another person chooses to marry affect one’s own marriage in any way? Are people suddenly coming home demanding divorces because a gay couple half way across the country can now legally be together?
HUSBAND: Did you hear that gay people are allowed to marry in this state?
WIFE: Why, yes. I did.
HUSBAND: I want a divorce! IMMEDIATELY. Why? I don’t know, really. How about because gay, that’s why. GAY!
Then there’s the assertion that marriage equality poses problems for parents. How are they supposed to explain gayness to their kids?!
Step 1: Explain to kids that there are different kinds of families in the world. Ones with moms and dads and kids. Ones with just moms and kids. Ones with just dads and kids. Ones with no kids. Ones with no moms and dads but grandmas or aunts or cousins and kids. And ones with two moms and kids or two dads and kids.
Step 2: Go back to whatever the hell it is you were doing before you explained family diversity to your kids.
Yes, it really is that simple.
I don’t know how the subject of two women marrying one another or two men marrying one another came up in our house, but it did. Mr. Sammich and I embarked upon step 1, and that was the end of it. Alister said, “Oh. OK,” and moved on to the next subject or question. He was not appalled. He was not confused. He just accepted that sometimes women marry men and men marry men and women marry women. End of story.
See, kids are pretty accepting of others when they’re young. It’s only after they’ve been poisoned with our adult prejudices that they become closed-minded. Imagine a world where kids are allowed to form their own opinions of others based on their character and not on some preconceived notions planted in their heads by the adults around them. Just imagine.
I’m sure there will be more questions when we get into the details of the birds and the bees with our kids, and at that time, we’ll address them — honestly, without bias, and to the best of our ability. I’m not pretending that answering these questions will be without obstacles. I’m not naive. But I am certain that explaining the world to children is not as hard as people would make it.
And I am certain that teaching love instead of hate makes for a better world for all of us.