Is it my imagination, or is there some global conspiracy to tell even the deafest of politicians that not every gay person, or child of a gay household, likes the idea of gay ‘marriage’? In fact, that many of them know – and are starting to tell – what grief and loss there is to children who are forced to live without the primal kinship bond with their mum or their dad.
As this Blog has recorded, prominent gay men like Dolce & Gabbana, or Doug Mainwaring, risk reputation to warn against depriving children of the love of mother or father. And look back to the powerful testimony of a group of adult children of gay households, telling US lawmakers that there are, indeed, deep losses for children raised in same-sex households.
Look especially to the letter from Kay Faust to Justice Kennedy of the US Supreme Court, “An open letter from the child of a loving gay parent”
And then, perhaps most moving of all, we read this week of another loving daughter of a lesbian mother:
Growing up, and even into my 20s, I supported and advocated for gay marriage. It’s only with some time and distance from my childhood that I’m able to reflect on my experiences and recognize the long-term consequences that same-sex parenting had on me. And it’s only now, as I watch my children loving and being loved by their father each day, that I can see the beauty and wisdom in traditional marriage and parenting.
Read these excerpts of her story and weep:
Same-sex marriage and parenting withholds either a mother or father from a child while telling him or her that it doesn’t matter. That it’s all the same. But it’s not. A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting. My father’s absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad. I loved my mom’s partner, but another mom could never have replaced the father I lost.
I grew up surrounded by women who said they didn’t need or want a man. Yet, as a little girl, I so desperately wanted a daddy. It is a strange and confusing thing to walk around with this deep-down unquenchable ache for a father, for a man, in a community that says that men are unnecessary. There were times I felt so angry with my dad for not being there for me, and then times I felt angry with myself for even wanting a father to begin with. There are parts of me that still grieve over that loss today…
Gay marriage doesn’t just redefine marriage, but also parenting. It promotes and normalizes a family structure that necessarily denies us something precious and foundational. It denies us something we need and long for, while at the same time tells us that we don’t need what we naturally crave. That we will be okay. But we’re not. We’re hurting…
It’s not just me. There are so many of us. Many of us are too scared to speak up and tell you about our hurt and pain, because for whatever reason it feels like you’re not listening. That you don’t want to hear. If we say we are hurting because we were raised by same-sex parents, we are either ignored or labeled a hater.
This isn’t about hate at all. I know you understand the pain of a label that doesn’t fit and the pain of a label that is used to malign or silence you. And I know that you really have been hated and that you really have been hurt. I was there, at the marches, when they held up signs that said, “God hates fags” and “AIDS cures homosexuality.” I cried and turned hot with anger right there in the street with you. But that’s not me. That’s not us.
I know this is a hard conversation. But we need to talk about it. If anyone can talk about hard things, it’s us. You taught me that.
Heather Barwick was raised by her mother and her mother's same-sex partner. She is a former gay-marriage advocate turned children's rights activist. She is a wife and mother of four rambunctious kids.
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