Prop 8 and the Seven-Year-Old
August 10, 2010
Today's post is from Amie Klempnauer Miller, a frequent speaker about gay and lesbian families and author of the book She Looks Just Like You: A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood. Miller works as a development consultant to the public media industry and lives with her partner and daughter in St. Paul, Minnesota.
"You remember that judge in California, Hannah? The one who was going to decide if the law saying that two men or two women are not allowed to get married is a good law or a bad law?"
"Yes," she says. We were in San Francisco, coincidentally, on the day of the closing arguments, so we had talked about the case over Prop 8.
"He made his decision. He said that it should be OK for two men or two women to get married," I say. "He's just saying that for California, but it's still really important."
"YES!" she says. "This is the most important thing of all to me."
I'm a little surprised by her reaction.
"Why's that?" I ask.
She points to Jane and then to me.
"Hel-LO? Girl. Girl."
I know that she wants same-sex marriage to become legal, in part because she wants to plan a wedding for Jane and me. She wants to be a bridesmaid. She wants to ride in a limo. She wants ice sculpture in the shape of a swan. She wants us to wear elaborate gowns. But honestly, I think what she really, really wants is for us to be married like everyone else.
And, in the end, I think it's her reaction that is the most important thing of all to me. Yes, I would like to have the rights and recognition that come with a marriage license. Yes, I think that gay and lesbian people should have the same range of choices as straight people – whether around marriage, parenthood, where we work, where we live, whatever. That said, for me personally, legal marriage sounds a bit anti-climactic, now that Jane and I have already been together – and believe me, married – for 26 years.
But it matters a lot to me that it matters so much to Hannah. For those of us who have children, it is tremendously important to be able to show that our families are just as valued as everyone else's. We can tell our kids that our families are just as important, but those statements are undermined by laws that say they aren't. The truth is that our kids are on the frontlines of explaining our families to the world. Marriage rights would make that work much easier because they would take away one of the major ways in which our families are set apart. And, if they mean that Hannah gets to be a bridesmaid, so much the better.
Read an excerpt of She Looks Just Like You on Scribd.