Photo courtesy of Guillaume Paumier: Creative Commons
I have always believed that children of LGBT parents have an important voice that can change the conversation surrounding LGBT families in our society.
The first time I stumbled upon this part of my story, I was sitting with my friend Paige at Uncle Julio’s pizza place on Capitol Hill. It was a brisk winter evening in 1993 and we were in our early twenties. As we munched on our pizza and discussed life in the city with my dads, I remember leaning forward in my chair and making a comment that continues to resonate in my soul:
“Paige, I truly believe that the children of gay families hold an important voice that the church and society need to hear. I believe that I can be a voice that can stir up compassion in the heart of every person who is prejudiced against gay people. My voice can be the compassionate connection that they need to be able to see my dads as human, not as evil, and as people, not as an issue.” (1)
Fast forward twenty-two years and my voice has been included in an amicus brief presented to the Supreme Court of the United States to advocate on behalf of marriage equality.
As a part of a combined effort between Family Equality Council, One Million Kids, and COLAGE, the brief is entitled the “Voices of Children,” and has been filed largely because of the gross omission of children’s voices in the marriage equality debate:
The voices of children raised by same-sex parents – those who live every day within the family structure at the heart of these lawsuits – are too often unheard in the debates about same-sex couples and marriage. Their stories are too often missing from discussions of “traditional” families or “family values,” and their personal experiences too often discounted as irrelevant. Although those who oppose marriage for same-sex couples frequently make assumptions about the quality of the children’s family lives, the children themselves are rarely asked to explain what they actually experience. (2)
In the brief I talked about the difference a simple piece of paper designating my dads as “married” had on my heart:
“You don’t think that a simple piece of paper designating your parents as ‘married’ can have a tangible difference on the bond you have with them — but it does. I watched decades of marginalization of my family fall away in the moment that the judge pronounced them as husband and husband.” – Jenny Rain, 44 (3)
When I learned that my voice had been included in the amicus brief, it was as if my life had come full circle. In that moment, I knew that my voice could play a small part in changing the conversation in our nation, as can every voice of every child of LGBT parents in our nation.
Children of LGBT families, know that on Tuesday, April 28th as we rally at the Supreme Court, our choir of voices has been HEARD and INCLUDED as a part of changing the conversation in our nation!
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(1) Will They Laugh if I Call You Daddy: Growing up with two dads in an Evangelical World. Jenny Rain (not yet published).
(2) Voices of Children Amicus Brief, Family Equality Council
(3) Amicus Brief Filed on Four Landmark Same-Sex Marriage Cases Presents Voices of Children, March 6, Bradley Jacobs, Family Equality Council.