Gay Marriage


Jim Henley recounts a conversation with his daughter:

The Littlest Offering, Age 8: What’s that about?

Me: It’s a commercial opposing Proposition 8 in California, which would make it illegal for gay people to get married.

TLO: But that’s an insult to Mary Gay and Vicki! (My stepsisters-in-law in Illinois.)

Me: Yes. And Uncle Tony. (My brother-in-law’s brother in McLean.)

TLO: And Bailey’s dads! (Bailey is a fellow Brownie.)

Me: Yeah, them too.

Jim recounts, “I would never tell you that eight-year-olds possess some inherent wisdom that grownups must always heed, but whenever I hear people complain that a problem with gay marriage is, us regular people just can’t explain it to our kids, I have to ask, what’s so complicated about the concept? Also, my daughter does recognize the human costs of marriage restriction on people she knows and loves.”

Indeed. My upbringing on 12th Street in Manhattan rarely provides me with important insights, but it was like growing up in the future in terms of social acceptance of gays and lesbians. If you’re not acclimated to prevailing discriminatory norms from a very young age, it’s actually very confusing to have them explained to you. There’s no obvious reason to a child that some substantial minority of couples shouldn’t be same sex.