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From the mouths of babes

Viewpoint

Inevitably, when asked if I truly believe the LGBT community will ever attain full equality, I only have to look at today's youth – black, white, brown, queer, and without question say yes. Even if pollsters didn't back up this assumption, you only have to spend one evening on youth night at Affirmations, spend some time with the youth at Ruth Ellis Center or catch a performance of the Mosaic Youth Theatre to believe that the "equality" boat will be coming in to port in the USA.
It has already docked in Canada, Spain, Denmark, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, The Netherlands, Norway, South Africa and Sweden where same sex unions have been granted the civil benefits accorded to mixed-sex couples. And although these international unions are not recognized in the United States, our partnerships and families are slowly gaining recognition.
But it hit me, when I received the latest birth announcement from a friend, that we, the LGBTQ community, are doing our part to fast track this country's social evolution. States can deny us the right to marry, but they cannot stop us from forming loving families. Whether by birth or adoption we are families and these equality babies will change society in ways legislation can never stop.
From inception they are agents of change. LGBTQ moms and dads sit side-by-side with their straight counterparts at fertility clinics, at obstetric visits, in birthing classes and at the hospital. Forcing doctors, hospital administrations and the straight couple next door to accept, willingly or grudgingly that parenting is gender neutral.
A baby, that beautiful bundle of joy, can even bring families together. I have heard many stories of estranged parents becoming more accepting of relationships because of that new grandchild. Of course there is that ugly flip side of family members trying to strip the non-biological parent of the child if something happens to the biological mother and let's not forget the ugly split up scenario where the biological/custodial parent wants to deny the other parents visitation – which is why we need second parent adoption protections. But for the most part babies tend to bring out the best in humanity.
My favorite example of the amazing impact of our equality babies on society are the children of my friends Ann and Jackie. Ann and Jackie live their life "out loud". Their marriage and family have not just been a blessing to their friends but to the community where they live and work. In sharing their lives and family with the Cass Corridor Community they HAVE changed hearts and minds and their beautiful children only accelerated the change.
When she started preschool their daughter never thought she was different because she had two mommies. She knew she had two parents who loved her dearly. Children don't have all the baggage we adults allow to complicate our lives. So to her friends, Rafi having two mommies was no big deal. She was just their friend. So she was invited to sleep-overs and birthday parties. Her mother's participated in parent-teacher meetings and school outings. Same concerns, same love – family just different from the nuclear model.
Funny things about kids, they bring out the best in you. Few parents want to explain bigotry and hatred to their children. So, maybe sometimes reluctantly, they included this wonderful family into their world and whether they knew it or not they were all changed for the better.
Another of my super-kid activists is Destiny, who with her dad lobbied the Senate and House of Representatives against the Federal Marriage Amendment and in Lansing against the discriminatory state amendment. Destiny has also met with Gov. Granholm. She did not have talking points. She just had two dads who loved her and whom she loved dearly. Their bond, their love, accomplished more than the savviest lobbyist or best written talking points and she did it all with one word – why.
Opponents of same-sex families often cite the welfare of children in their objection to our families. Most recently, republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney jumped on this bandwagon stating that "marriage is primarily about the nurturing and development of children," adding that "every child deserves a mother and father."
I look at the off-springs of heterosexual couples like Britney Spears and K-Fed, the frequent reports of children abused physically and/or sexually by their heterosexual parents, the staggering statistics of young people growing up in an inadequate foster care system and question the validity of this view point. Neglect, abuse and even murder of children are a sad reality of heterosexual America, yet the same people who bemoan these tragedies with shouts of "Never again" hypocritically attack the rights of gay couples to marry and lovingly raise their natural and adopted children.
One of the rare times I watched "Oprah" her program focused on extraordinary families. One of the families was two gay men who had adopted several special needs children who otherwise would have been doomed to the foster care system. She asked the eldest what did he think when he found out two gay men were going to adopt him. His response said it all – it meant he "had a family."
Children are not just a blessing to our community. They are our hope and our future. I personally feel a lot better placing my hopes on the Rafi's, Ari's, Jamie's, Nadia's and the other equality babies who bless our community than any politician Republican or Democratic. Social evolution is at hand and equality will change America all from the mouths of babes.



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