Making Love Legal: Proposition 8 and Gay Marriage

User post: This week, a Federal Judge in California overturned Proposition 8, the state's ban on same sex marriage, stating it was unconstitutional. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, however, may be asked to impose a stay, as both sides expect the issue to eventually reach the United States Supreme Court. Currently only five states in our country offer all citizens the right to marry: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

In a world of constant access to information and technology, any parent's desire to be a life-long learner may be facilitated, as we grow through our experiences, conversations, and understanding with our children. Perhaps no one has a greater impact on a child's education, life experience, and values than the child's own parents. Teaching true compassion and respect for all human beings early in a child's life can build a solid foundation for a child that may last a lifetime, while sometimes promoting thought-provoking change that can affect future generations. As a Montessori teacher and Parent Educator, it is my hope that I may plant the seeds now that inspire my child to invoke such positive changes in the world.

A recent vacation to Washington, D.C. presented a perfect opportunity to shape this foundation, as I attended a family wedding with my 6 year old son. It was a wonderful celebration of two very special people that have lovingly, whole-heatedly, and faithfully been committed to each other for 12 years. In fact, the couple married on the twelfth anniversary of their first date in the home they have created together. Over one hundred friends and family members excitedly surrounded the happy couple, thrilled to share in their joy, love, and dedication to each other. In many ways, this was a typical wedding, beautifully and thoughtfully planned to include personally written vows, many celebratory parties before and after the event, and many tears of joy.

This, however, was not an ordinary wedding. It was the extraordinary wedding of very special two men, who reside in the District of Columbia. They are now legally united in marriage after the DC Election Board ruled in March that a referendum on same sex marriage would violate city election laws covered by the Human Rights Act, which outlaws discrimination. The DC Court of Appeals upheld this decision in July. I could not be more delighted, grateful, and honored to have attended the wedding of such wonderful human beings.

In the days before the wedding, I spent much of the week in DC, playing the role of tourist, companion, and educator to my son, as we journeyed between and many museums and monuments in this wonderful city. We learned and discovered so much in the many wondrous venues of our nation's capital.

As I shared information with my child regarding our country's monuments, museums, and history, I also spent much time reflecting upon and examining my role as a parent. I wondered what other work was required of me to educate my child, in my desire to raise a human being who is not only knowledgeable about the world in which we live, but also compassionate and respectful of all human beings. I realized that the wedding had presented me with great opportunity to impart important values regarding respect for equal rights for all human beings, including the right to marry.

Much of the foundation was already in place from previous conversations about how all families look different and form in different ways, including discussions about adoption, divorce, death, and blending families. So when my child asked me if my uncle his partner could have a baby, I simply responded, "Yes, they could adopt a child to create a family together. Remember that all families are different and form in different ways." He nodded and went on his way, acknowledging my answer without question or hesitation. I thought it was interesting that my son accepted my answer as a matter of fact, unaware by his age and innocence of the political struggles and religious debates, as well as the prejudices and discrimination, regarding the issue of same sex marriage. In my child's world, it was normal, acceptable, and natural that two people who love and care for each other be allowed to commit themselves to one another in marriage. How could anyone be opposed to that?