March 27, 2013

What We Teach When We Teach Equality

"This picture means 'All Love is Good.'"
Today is the second day that the Supreme Court is hearing arguments about marriage equality, and I feel it incumbent upon me to say something about what my kids are getting out of all of this.

You see, I believe that the government has no business deciding who can love who, and who can call themselves a family.

I don't care if it's a man and a woman, two men, or two women, or any other arrangement. If every adult involved made the decision of their own free will, to love and support each other, to care for each other, to provide for each other, who has the right to tell them that it's wrong?

When somebody tells their child that marriage is only between a man and a woman, they're teaching their child that some love that adults experience is wrong. And if some love is wrong, than the people who experience that love are wrong.

And if those people are wrong, they are bad.

When we tell children that love is only okay in the way they think that God wants love to be, we are teaching them that their own feelings are probably wrong- that unless they adhere specifically to a book we only like to half accept, they are wrong. We teach them to fear and loathe their own bodies, their own emotions.

And if they fear and loathe themselves, they must be bad.

And if our children are afraid they are fundamentally wrong, or bad, and if our children believe that people who don't meet some far flung ideal of one specific faith are bad, hatred boils over. Acts of violence are committed. And frightened children become adults full of fear that they can only mask with hate.

I have three daughters. I have no idea if they're gay or straight, and I don't care. I care that someday, they may want to share their lives with another person, and I want them to have that freedom.

I care that someday, they might be physically attacked for who they choose to love.

Marriage equality isn't just about marriage. It's about how we treat each other. It's about denying a grieving widow or widower their own home, a pension, their investments against the terror that is life after your spouse's death.

It's about holding your family together after the unthinkable- about keeping your children with you after the death of their other parent, rather than tearing them to pieces because their lone surviving parent is the same sex as the one they lost.

It's about letting people who love each other support each other through illness. Visit each other in the hospital. Cry together. Pray together.

It has nothing to do with God. It has to do with human dignity.

Whenever my kids see pictures on the computer of boys kissing boys, and girls kissing boys, they say nothing. They say nothing because I have done everything in my power to make sure they know that this is NORMAL. That this is HEALTHY. That boys can love boys, and girls can love girls, and they can love anyone they want.

I've told them that some people don't want other people to love each other. They are utterly perplexed.

And they're right. They should be perplexed. We should all be perplexed. Love is nobody's business but your own.

I say, forget these "slippery slope" arguments. This has nothing to do with religious ethics, this has to do with adults making adult choices.

If two men or two woman, together, decide they want to love each other and support each other and protect each other and provide for each other, forever, who's to say they can't do that?

Consenting adults are entitled to their own choices. They're not hurting anybody. They're not hurting each other.

My marriage is diminished by the denial of equal rights to other people. My marriage is strengthened by the idea that any person can commit to an equal burden, and an equal comfort. Marriage is a fundamental human right.

So when I teach my children this, I teach them to treat all people equally. I teach them not to otherize those who are in some way different from them. I teach them not to fear people. I teach them that their feelings are valid and healthy and normal.

I can't undo the hateful things that other children have learned. But I can combat it by showing love. Constantly.

And that is what I try to do.


  1. Great post! When I become a parent, I hope to echo these same teachings to my children. Children come into this world loving; judgement is taught to them by someone.

    "I can't undo the hateful things that other children have learned. But I can combat it by showing love. Constantly." Perfect attitude.

  2. I love it! If only everyone could think this way...the world would be much better off. Great post!!!

  3. Yes! Great post. Thank you for saying it.



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