Given the fact that I am one of two moms in an gay family, it only made sense to me to write a blog post today! When I first came out, it was really difficult, especially for my family. I think one of the things my mom mourned when she first found out I am gay was the family she had imagined me having as I grew older. At that time, being gay was still something that you generally didn’t discuss with others. The option of marriage seemed like an impossibility, let alone the opportunity to have children. Of course, I knew I wanted both. Fast forward almost 20 years later, and I have just what I dreamed of – a beautiful wife and daughter.
Kendra and I are so lucky – we live in a state in which we can be legally married. Addison, though not my biological child, is legally my daughter. We’ve experienced hardly any discrimination or harassment as a gay family. Yet, I know that our story is not necessarily the norm for many GLBT families in the U.S.
Only 5 states and Washington D. C. recognize gay marriage, whereas 42 have laws on the books that ban same-sex marriage. 5 states prohibit gay couples from adopting children, and another 3 explicitly prohibit second-parent adoption. These laws do not make the lives of LGBT folks easy, they merely put obstacles in the way of people who just want the same rights and protection as their heterosexual peers.
Furthermore, even though we are legally married, Kendra and I have faced inequality. We are taxed on her health insurance because I am on her plan. When traveling outside of the state, we have to carry our health care proxies and other legal documents to ensure that if, god forbid, something happens to either of us, we can legally act on behalf of the other. The Defense of Marriage Act has had ramifications as well, including the need for us to essentially commit tax fraud every year. Because the Federal government does not recognize our marriage, we are required to file as single; yet our state recognizes our marriage, and requires us to file as married. Quite the conundrum! These are just some of the myriad inequalities that still exist for GLBT couples.
So although things are moving in the right direction, we still have a long way to go before we achieve true equality. However, things ARE getting better, and I think knowing GLBT families will change the minds of those who may not understand that we are the same as everyone else – we have the same wants, needs, fears, and dreams. And regardless of how you may feel, we are not going away. So get to know us – you might be surprised at how much we have in common! ;)