Saturday, Nov 15th was a perfect demonstration of the First Amendment. Ten of thousands, if not a million, Americans gathered at city halls to rally against Prop 8. What impressed me the most was how quickly JointheImpact circulated across the Internet. (Check out Austin Photos and Videos at http://tinyurl.com/62w8gb and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phZpOukVYME.)
Often overlooked in the debate about gay marriage is the impact marriage inequality has on the children of lesbian and gay couples. When a straight couple has or adopts a child, they are automatically considered the child’s legal parents. By denying LGBT Americans the right to marry, we deprive their children of more than 1,200 state and federal rights and benefits that come with a marriage license.
A 10 year boy articulated our intention perfectly during the Impact Austin rally. Here is his speech:
My name is Mason and my brother and I have not one, but two incredible moms! It’s sad that I’ve been on this planet 10 years and my parents still can’t even cover each other with their own health insurance.
I’m here to tell you about how this amendment affects kids like me. Kids like me include the other 6-10 million sons and daughters of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender parents all over America. Even though I could be somewhere like a football field wtih my friends, instead, like you, I choose to be here to fight for equal protection for my family and all the others out there. My moms were together 10 years before they had me & my brother, and they are celebrating their 20th anniversary this month. Yet some people may say we aren’t a “real” family – what do you say?
I think what they mean by real family is like lots of my good friends’ families, a married mom and dad and kids. But did you know that that kind of family actually only makes up 23 percent of the United States?
According to my math teacher, that’s a minority, which means the majority of families are so called “weird” like mine, and have single parents or blended families, or grandmas or two dads – so “weird” families like ours are actually the majority in America. I don’t know about you, but putting in the Constitution who gets all the rights of family and who doesn’t isn’t very smart, and it’s not fair to those of us who get left out.
Let me tell you our California marriage story:
It all started this summer when my family and I took that endless plane trip to CA. We stayed in a hotel with rooftop pool for 3 days. On the second day, we went to City Hall in West Hollywood and we waited a longgggg time in a longgggggg line to get a marriage certificate. There were about 10 protesters standing around w/ hateful signs, including one mean guy w/ a devil mask holding a sign that said, “Smile: Satan loves you!” (Personally, I think he fell on his head at birth) ….
Later that day, we had a ceremony on Zuma Beach, right under the sunset. I was wearing fancy clothes and I wasn’t allowed to play in the water or even get sandy, which is kinda hard for a kid like me – and turned out impossible for my brother! This is gonna embarrass my moms that I’m telling you this, but they actually forgot our shirts and we had to borrow somebody else’s kid’s shirts for our ceremony. As a matter of fact, you are going to get to hear from Jeff Lutes in just a minute, he’s the Dad who literally gave the shirts off his kids back for us. So you could say he’s a pretty nice guy!
Anyway, we had a good preacher & some friends there, and I was ringbearer, and I stood really still through whole ceremony. My moms were really happy and they cried a little bit, and we ate on the beach afterwards and the moon was gigantic. They were finally legally married! Now, just a few months later, this certificate could mean nothing. So all I want to say today is that this deeply affects real American families, and kids like me.
If you want to ban something as important as marriage, then you should ban fruits and vegetables. What do we want? It’s easy, I just want dignity for my family.
My parents just want the full protections of marriage under the law – same as every other parent would want. Finally, let’s all remember: It’s not just about gay or straight, it’s about family!
Discrimination against the parents of these children hurts families and hurts children. And IT HELPS NO ONE. Atticus Circle is standing up to protect the children in our country by fighting the good fight against discrimination, encouraging fairness and acceptance, and achieving equality for every parent and partnership. And this past Saturday, we got to literally stand next to others who shared our desire to end discrimination and achieve gay equality, and experience, firsthand, the power in numbers.