You don’t have to be gay to appreciate the value of two-parent households when you’re raised by a single/divorced mother.
When President Obama gave his second Presidential Inauguration address in January of 2013, my jaw dropped when he mentioned his desire to secure marriage rights for gays.
From my perspective, and a heterosexual one, it was one of the most bold statements I had ever witnessed at an inauguration. Obama chose to lean forward with a progressive mission, address an inequality and vowed to correct it.
The year 2015 ushered in the Supreme Court ruling that officially recognized gay marriage. It represents the law of the land. Despite any misgivings one may have, you have two choices – defy the law or abide by it.
The twist in all of this is children and how members of the gay community have equal rights as heterosexual ones to become parents, whether by in-vitro fertilization or adoption. For the record, I double checked on the physiological front – those are the only options available.
It begs the question: how will we, as a society, accept gay dads or moms when they join our respective communities at the playground, kindergarten and throughout our children’s schooling years? What will the impact be on the children? How will they be raised differently than straight parents?
If these questions enter your mind, you’re missing the most obvious point. We’re referring to two parents, so let’s eliminate sexual orientation for a moment. Have you thought about comparing the experience of being raised by TWO parents as opposed to ONE?
Ask any child who was raised by divorced parents about their upbringing and you’ll discover that, unless the relationship between husband and wife was an abusive one, the divorce element left a bad taste in the child’s mouth. How could it not? The people that brought them into this world chose to lead separate lives.
When you watch your father leave through the front door for the last time, it’s a memory that is hard to forget.
When you share the most adult-like conversation you’ve ever had in your life with one of both parents (when you’re a kid) after they officially divorce, it is also hard to forget.
When you witness the single parent raising you struggle with the act of discipline or financial challenges, you never forget it.
When you observe two gay dads raising one or more children, and they represent committed and loving parents, it’s worthy of respect.
When you witness how children, in the presence of two parents, find their equilibrium and their bearings with greater ease compared to a single-parent upbringing, it demands respect.
When you witness how gay parents have the same kinds of challenges, as spouses, parents, homemakers or breadwinners, it’s actually quite refreshing – gay parents suffer on an equal basis compared to heterosexuals! Welcome to the party, pal!
If you’re going to judge anything, as a heterosexual parent, try starting with yourself. There’s no reason why kids being raised by two gay parents will be worse or better off compared to heterosexual couples. The true measure of a married couple, regardless of sexual orientation, is how they operate as a loving team to raise well-balanced kids.
To that point, we are at the close of Pride month, and if you live in the suburbs and do not fly the flag, consider the message it sends. We started flying ours two years ago, and during that time a gay couple we’re now friends with noted they spotted pride flags outside the homes in our area. It wasn’t the sole reason they chose to live in Bergen county, but the flag represents a message of inclusion.
You can thank me later – more home buyers equate to higher property values. That’s not the point, however.
Given the divisive era we live in, is it better to espouse a message that is more welcoming? That’s for you to decide. If you were raised by divorced parents and have the opportunity to welcome any and all two-parent families in the community, start by introducing yourself.