I've been feeling a bit nostalgic lately, thinking about his little cul-de-sac and all of its inhabitants. I've been going back there in my mind lately. I would love for you to join me on a stroll down memory lane back to my once-upon-a-time?
On this past cul-de-sac, with our other friends and neighbors, we lived across the street from a couple who had three adopted daughters. They were three of the most beautiful, and well loved, girls I've met. If I remember correctly all three came from different mothers, and all three of the mothers were addicted to various bad substances while they were pregnant with these girls. The three girls were vastly different in appearance and personality. One of the girls had special needs. She had club feet, medical challenges and developmental disabilities. But she was sweet, loving and thriving. One was a whirling dervish of sometimes devilish behavior. She was a feisty, little thing who fought hard for time and attention, and her mischievous glint made her hard to resist. The third was quiet and shy, who rarely sought the spot light on herself, but she gave her love and heart freely. I just wanted to scoop her up and love on her. Being an adoptee myself, my heart opened wide for these beautiful girls. All three girls came from the same group home where their mother worked as a nurse. Their parents opened their hearts, and home, wide for children who could easily been discarded by society because they were born to mothers who were addicted to things no one should ever put in their bodies. And all three of these beautiful girls had the potential to end up as waste-away, crack babies. But they weren't discarded. They were taken home and raised with love, care and concern.
Another set of neighbors worked for the university in our city. They worked in the criminal justice research department. Their work was used to assist police departments in their investigations of possible child abuse. This couple's research included using child-sized, crash-test dummies to determine what kinds of injuries could be the result of true accidents or if a child's injuries were caused by abuse. They had no children of their own, but they worked hard to make sure that the littlest victims were able to get a day in court because their research. They worked hand in hand with the police force and witnessed injuries so horrific, neither you, nor I could imagine. Their work made the world a little safer for all of our children.
You might be asking yourself, what is so special about both of these couple that would make me want to take you on my trip down memory lane? They're just two other couples doing what all of us are doing, working hard and raising families. They are no different from you and me. They get up in the morning. They put their pants on the same way we do...one foot at a time. They get ready for work. Get their kids ready for school. They leave. They work hard. They come home. They commit themselves to each other and their family. They are just like you and me. Except for one small detail...they are lesbians.
So now, maybe you're wondering why, in heaven's name, I took you on this trip down memory lane. Well, I've been going down it myself for the past couple of weeks. I've been reading, watching, absorbing a lot of the issue of gay marriage lately. I can't get it off my mind. It's taken hold, and taken root in my mind, because of the massive press it's receiving. It started with Michael Sams, the Mizzou football player who announced to the world he's gay and then it went on to the Ellen Degeneres interview with Dale Hansen, the "old, fat, white" sportscaster from Dallas, Texas, who shared his views about Michael Sams. And I have to say, in reading about and watching interviews, I can't wrap my head around what the giant fuss is all about when it comes to gay marriage and gay love. I truly don't understand it at all. Life is all about love. It's all about commitment. It's about families. It's all about creating memories with those you love and who love you in return. And, to me, that's what our former neighbors worked so hard to achieve.
I think this where I might lose a few of you, but I hope not. I hope you keep reading until the end. I hope you hear me out.
Above, I described to you two couples who are fabulous members of society.
Think about this for a minute. Would you adopt three daughters from women who spent their entire pregnancies addicted to crack? Would you take that chance? I didn't, and I'm an adoptee. Would you spend your days and nights working with crash test dummies to determine whether a child, who is admitted to the hospital with injuries more horrific than you or I can imagine, was abused by the hands of someone who was supposed to be caring for that child? I wouldn't. It would break my heart. Yet, these two women go to work everyday and work to help protect other people's children. These four women live and love with passion and grace in the face of a government, and society, who wants to shun them for loving each other.
Why is it up to you, me and the government to deny them the right to marry and make their families legal in the eyes of the law? Why? Why should governments be allowed to tell anyone who they can or can't love and marry? Why should anyone be allowed to tell someone else how to create a family?
I think about it this way...
Years ago (many, many years ago) babies like me ~ the unwanted, the unplanned, the unmentionable, the ones called bastards were discarded. Babies like me weren't destined to be anything in life. We were placed in orphanages and left there. No one wanted these dregs of society. No one wanted the castoffs. Families were families, and they were built by blood, by God. No one wanted to build a family with fatherless bastards. I'll say it again, I was one of those babies. But times changed, and I was able to be part of a family who raised me and loved me. Instead of being cast off into oblivion, I was gifted with a family because society's views shifted for the greater good of humanity.
Society's views need to shift again. Society needs to understand that the more stable we are, with family being valued more than angry, archaic rhetoric, the better we all are. Families are families no matter how they're built. People deserve to love and marry those who make their hearts happy. People deserved to be loved by those who treat them with love and respect.We are all guaranteed the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness.Why should anyone be denied the right to a family because old, archaic views are still in place?
And why is it some of those who champion the rights of the unborn babies are the same ones who are denying the rights of gays and lesbians to marry? How the heck does that make sense? A baby is a human being from the moment it's conceived, they say. It deserves our protection, they say. Well, then shouldn't that translate into respecting, and protecting, that same person when they grow up...even if that baby grows up to find themselves loving their same gender? Or does it only apply to the heterosexual babies who were born instead of aborted?
Like I said above, there are many interviews, stories and blogs and I've been checking them all out. But this is one of my favorites. I found it on Upworthy, and can't stop thinking about it.
If you don't feel like watching it, I'll sum it up. In this video heterosexual people are asked when they chose to be straight. It's more than remarkable when it hits those interviewed that they didn't choose to be straight. They were just born that way.
I didn't choose to like guys. I just did. From the time I realized there was a difference between boys and girls, men and women, I liked guys. They made my heart go pitter-patter. Women didn't do that for me. They never have. They never will. I was born liking guys.
In the same way, a gay guy will never be attracted to woman and a lesbian woman won't be attracted to a man. They are born the way they're born. And maybe they were a baby who was saved from being terminated because their mother saw an anti-abortion add put out by some of the very same people who want to deny them the freedom to marry the love of their life and create a family with children who might not ever have one.
I truly don't understand what the fuss is all about. Families create stability. Stability creates better societies. Better societies produce stability. It's a wonderful circle and it makes sense.
OK, so if you've stuck with me this far and are shaking your head in disbelief at my words, thinking I'm blasphemous, I'll go on to defend my stance by saying that I have to believe the God who rules our universe wouldn't create a person who was so unworthy of love they didn't deserve to be validated in the eyes of society. The God I believe in is a good and kind and loving God who wants the best for all of us. I truly believe he (or she) is there to love and protect us. We are the ones who screw things up.
Let's look for a minute at the bible. It's full of lots of wonderful things, like how to live life and love. But the bible was written by many fallible men. Maybe, in certain instances, they didn't quite hear what was being said. Or maybe, in some passages, they totally screwed up the translation of what was said. I say this because I have to believe the God of our universe is out to love and protect us. The God of my world isn't going to put people on this Earth who are unworthy of the blessings of love, commitment and family. We are the ones who impose these rules on who can and can't get married. We are the ones who put labels on people. I'll say it again, the Bible was written by men, or more broadly people, and sometime people screw stuff up. So, I'll continue to say the God I believe in wants us to love and honor one another. I have not made an exhaustive search of the Bible, but I have it on good authority that nowhere in the bible does it say, "Thou shalt be right." It does, however say, "Thou shalt love one another as I have loved you."And so we should. End of story.
This is how I will raise my children. This is what I will teach them to believe. Every one of us, regardless of how we start out in life, or how (or to whom) we are born, are worthy of love, respect and the right to marry. I hope I can teach my kiddos well enough so that societal "norms" will shift again to accept what is now an ugly mark on our small world.
Oh, for the love of my children...