SupremeCourtJustices

How to Talk to Kids About the Supreme Court Decisions on Same-Sex Marriage?

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Yes, that’s a question mark at the end of that post title. Anyone have any ideas?

When news broke that the Supreme Court struck down DOMA and Prop 8, I’m sure a lot of straight parents were stumped about how to discuss the subject with their kids. In the past, I’ve had a lot of sympathy for straight parents who wanted to explain gay parents like me and my partner to their kids. Well, this is one instance in which I say to straight parents, you’ve got it easy. For you, it’s as simple as, “They decided everyone should be treated equally. Hooray!”

As a gay dad, though, I need to have the exact opposite conversation. Before I can tell my kids how great it is that we’re now considered equal, I first have to explain why we weren’t equal to begin with. Our kids have always known that couples come in all varieties of gender combinations — woman/woman, man/man, man/woman, lady/tramp. What they don’t know — and gratefully, are still too young to understand — is that not all of those groups feel comfortable sharing plates of spaghetti in public.

ImageI wrote in a Lifetime Moms post how I don’t want to tell my daughter she can do anything boys can do, because, y’know, duh. Since I wrote that post, there have been a couple of times she’s heard from other people that girls can’t do something, and I’ve had to let her know that those people are horribly wrong, and also just plain horrible. As a result, my extremely girly little girl swears she’s going to be a construction worker when she grows up. Success.

I’ve always felt pretty much the same way about homophobia that I did about sexism: I’ll wait for the kids to encounter it, and then it’ll seem as bizarre and unfounded to them as it should.

Luckily, that plan has served me well so far, because my kids have yet to experience any direct homophobia. All of my fears about parents refusing to set up playdates with us, schools turning us away or landlords refusing to rent to us have been, so far, unfounded. There are the occasional moments we get some extra attention because we have two dads in our family, so my kids briefly get to feel like celebrities. But no one’s thrown any rocks through our windows or given us any negative attention. For the most part, we get treated exactly the way I want to be treated.

It’s not that I don’t want my kids to know about homophobia. It’s just that I’m not sure they’d believe me.

SupremeCourtJusticesThat may be the best part about being a gay parent, that my kids are the only people I’ve ever known who I didn’t have to come out to, who didn’t know about or assume the shame and fear I grew up with. To them, I’m just “Dad”, and the fact that I love “Other Dad” isn’t just natural and wonderful, it’s a fundamental part of their world view.

So, sure, I want to tell my kids about the Supreme Court’s ruling. I want them to see all the people celebrating and all the couples like their dads who are now getting married. There’s just no way they’d appreciate what a big deal it is and no way to do it without exposing them, just a tiny bit, to exactly the thing I’ve been trying to protect them from. I don’t want my kids to feel like victims, and I don’t want them to think they have to be fighters, either. I just want them to be themselves, and so far, they’re doing an awesome job of that.

This is undoubtedly an historical moment, but I’ve decided this is one bit of history they can wait to learn about until their high school history class, because the world the Supreme Court just brought us one step closer to, is one my kids already live in.

*****

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107 comments on “How to Talk to Kids About the Supreme Court Decisions on Same-Sex Marriage?

  1. I feel ya, bro. When Alex’s dad got engaged to his partner, I felt I had to warn Alex that some people might react with surprise to this news. I explained that people could react strangely because it’s more unusual for two men to love each other – like being left handed. Also that sometimes people fear things they aren’t familiar with. After my long winded explanation, I asked Alex “Do you understand what I’m saying?” Alex’s response: “Not really, Mom, but if you say so…” Gotta say I felt a little awkward trying to convince him that homophobia exists!

    • I love the “like being left-handed” explanation. Because it’s true, statistically speaking, and just as normal. Though at one point I think left-handed people were thought to be Satan’s earthly reps at one point, but hey, humans.

  2. Being the gay parents of a 15 yr old we were nervous about moving to New Rochelle. The 2years we have lived here have been nothing but pleasure. Not only do our sons friends accept us as parents but some of their parent’s have become our friends also. Homophobia and prejudice are learner at home and enforced in schools thankfully not here.

  3. “It’s not just that I don’t want my kids to know about homophobia. It’s just that I’m not sure they’d believe me.” I love that, and love that last sentence. My situation was different, as I not only stayed in the closet longer, I didn’t even know there was a closet for years. Anyway, I came out to my oldest when he was 9. We came from a very religious family and community, so the idea was a novelty to him. “Do people really do that?” Have same sex boyfriends and girlfriends was the context. And I had to prepare him for some things he would hear from other family members or church members, things I was lucky that he hadn’t heard yet. His response was, “Dad, everyone’s different.” The other two pretty much grew up mostly as your children have. It’s a good thing to have this be a non-issue with them, but also lovely to see them celebrate with me these legal victories, because they’ve seen the prejudice too.

    Sorry, that didn’t help much.

    • I really enjoyed reading this post. When my now-adult children were younger, I remember renting the movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” to watch with them. I was fully prepared to answer any questions they might have had or have a discussion about racism with them. BTW, I am a white, Jewish Old Lady. At the end of the movie, all three gave me the same confused look. When I asked them about it, they all said, “What’s the big deal? So the girl wants to marry a black person… Why would they make a movie about it?” I think that was one of my proudest parenting moments ever. Now, I have one LGBT daughter, a son who works in construction, and my “baby” who is a 2nd don black belt in TaeKwonDo and a combat soldier in the IDF. We have left stereotypes at the door in our house.
      I just hope that homophobia will suffer the same demise as other types of hate and that we can all live the way we want to while doing the things we love.

    • It’s great that your son was so understanding. I do look forward to sharing the legal victories with my kids as they get older, but for now, I’m not going to make a big deal about any of it.

  4. I see the dilemma. They’re quite little right now and I think that your approach sounds very reasonable :)
    Also? This is beautiful:
    “That may be the best part about being a gay parent, that my kids are the only people I’ve ever known who I didn’t have to come out to, who didn’t know about or assume the shame and fear I grew up with. To them, I’m just “Dad”, and the fact that I love “Other Dad” isn’t just natural and wonderful, it’s a fundamental part of their world view.”

  5. My approach was to call my son and tell him the supreme court decided my aunts are married again, to which he said “I know mom. Where’ve you been all day”. Totally burst my bubble, so I wouldn’t recommend it, even if your kids were teenagers.
    I like your approach. Little ones don’t understand prejudice, any more than I would have understood why anyone would treat my African American cousins differently when I was a kid. Just because they have chocolate colored skin and my skin is more of a peach color, we’re supposed to be different in ways that matter? I didn’t realize racism existed until third grade.
    I think it’s the same for this issue, but as they get older, it’s probably better for kids to be at least a little more prepared than I was. Later, maybe talking about differences, and how sometimes people don’t get along because of differences. But at the same time, pointing out how differences in your family make everybody so special. Maybe one person makes beautiful drawings to put on the refrigerator, and another person sings the ABCs every night before bed so that everyone goes to sleep happy. Or whatever those wonderful differences are.
    I definitely agree, there is no reason to push them into trying to understand something unpleasant that they just can’t understand yet. The world will provide enough exposure to the negative. When that happens, you will no doubt be there for them, helping them become even stronger. But right now, your kids just need to be little, and enjoy the world in the way little kids enjoy it :)
    This is one area where I wish we could all be like children, and like people because they are nice, and dislike other people if those people are mean. Children have much better criteria for choosing friends than adults often have.

    • I remember being in 6th grade and hearing about the Holocaust for the first time in history class. Many of the other kids had been exposed to it from a young age in Hebrew School. It was so horrifying and so baffling to me, which I’m sure it is at any age. I guess my parents could’ve taught me about it sooner and made the point that anti-Semitism was bad, but by not teaching me, the same point got through, and at least I got to enjoy a few years of blissful ignorance about how horrible people can be. I can see the value in both perspectives, honestly.

      Thanks for the comment!

  6. That was exactly my instant response when I read the title of this post: Don’t! At least not immediately. And you have pointed out all the right reasons, too.

    Funnily, we had a similar, if not very related, discussion the other day. The little monster has, for whatever reason, taken to using his middle finger for pointing at things. My husband tried to convince him to use his index finger instead but I think at four, this is as innocent a gesture as can be. So pointing out to him that other people may find it offensive might not only seem strange to him but also rob him of this innocence. With the possible undesired result of him showing the wrong behaviour on purpose, as little boys do to aggravate their parents.

    Sometimes ignorance can be bliss, at least for a little longer!

    • Well said, Sandra. As usual, we agree. And I’ve seen lots of little kids using their middle finger to point at things. Not once have I felt like the kid was flipping me off. :)

    • No, not too often. We did talk about the election and the Presidential Inauguration, but this would be the first Supreme Court decision they’d heard about, for sure. :)

  7. let kid just be kids. I agree with the Socialbutterflymom above me. I once held a discussion with my wee ones and their cognizant of the issue at hand became distorted as kids do. It came back to bite me in the end. KISS. Keep it simple while they are young, I found that they forgot about the issue as they returned to their toys..

    • Yeah, I could give them a few talking points, but they’d just go around parroting back what I said. Maybe in a few years, they’ll be ready to have real discussions about these sorts of things. For now, though, KISS is a good strategy. (Does the last “S” stand for “stupid”?)

  8. I love your blog, and understand the dilemma in addressing this issue with your children. Mine are a lot younger than yours are – but in time the husband and I will be teaching our boys that any way they want to live and whom they love is fine by us. We are happy that the Supreme Court struck down DOMA and Prop 8 and marriages can resume for all that are in love, not just a man and a woman.

    • Yes, I agree. Oddly enough, this is one topic that might be more of a teachable moment for straight parents than for us. Especially if your kids don’t know any LGBT adults, it’s always good for them to hear that gay people exist and you and your husband love them unconditionally.

  9. You’ve got a potentially bigger question from your darlings to answer… “So why aren’t you and Other Dad married?”

    xoxox

  10. My kids are pretty little (3 & 5) but I want them to know that there are all kinds of people and all kinds of families. I haven’t made it an “issue” to discuss, just a normal part of life. Like, some of your friends live with a mommy & daddy, some just live with a mommy (or daddy), some live with an uncle or grandparent, and some have two daddies or two mommies.

    • Yes, I agree. It’s so important to have those discussions with kids. We do that, too. We just haven’t made too big a deal about the gay thing because it’s kind of a given for my kids. We’ve put more focus on showing them other families headed by two dads or two moms so that they know we’re not the only ones.

  11. It’s funny what questions different parents find difficult to answer. A few months ago, my 4 year old daughter saw a cross and asked me what it was. I stammered for a few seconds trying to find somehow to explain it and finally just said, “I’ll explain it when you’re a little older.”

    This question seems sooooooo much easier to answer in my opinion. “When two adults love each other and want a family, sometimes they get married.”

    • Ha – you’re right. We haven’t had to explain religion yet to my kids, and I haven’t given much thought to how I’d do it. “No one knows for sure what happens after you die or where the universe came from, but a lot of people have different beliefs about it, and that’s something you might want to give some thought to as you get older. But here’s what your dads believe…” Something like that? I’m just hoping it’s a while before I have to tackle that one. :)

  12. This post is the most hopeful thing I’ve read in a while. It forecasts the possibility that somewhere into the future, the whole issue of who we love will become a moot point. The important thing is that we love and are loved. The innocence of babes is lovely.

    • Thanks, RW. I know the loving, accepting bubble my kids live in now is bound to get shattered by the time they reach, say, Junior High. They’ll definitely encounter ignorance at some point. For now, though, I want them to enjoy as much love and acceptance as the world will give them, for as long as it lasts.

      • Yes, everybody, gets shattered one way or another by Junior High. Hopefully if you ‘build ‘em strong’ they’ll survive all that emotional hyperbole. You guys are doing a great job. I wish all parents took the job as seriously as you do.

  13. As a bisexual woman who is married to a straight guy (and I’m poly with a lesbian), I disagree with when you should talk to your kids. My kids are 18 and 11–much older than yours, I totally get that. But when your kids hear it–and they will hear it unless they are totally homeschooled and in a bubble–they will look to you for answers.

    It’s just like sex, stranger danger, drugs, etc–anything we teach our kids can empower them. Do I really want to tell my son that there are people who rape kids? No. But with a predator living in our neighborhood, for me to not tell my son is foolish.

    You don’t have to make a big deal out of it. You can tell kids things in a way that just presents a subject without emotions (even if we, as parents, have alot of emotions about it).

    I realize it may have been writer’s license when you said “they can wait until HS history to learn it” but I think that’s not our duty as parents to foist off educating our kids on “the big things” to the schools.

    FWIW, my kids heard the news before I did and wanted to make sure I knew ;)

    • I’m not discounting the possibility that my view on this will change as my kids get a bit older. I may even feel differently a year from now, based on what they understand. As for the predator discussion, I agree, that’s one all kids need to know about. But for now, it’s just, “Always stay where I can see you.” and “Never leave anywhere without either me or Daddy.” I’m sparing them the gory details of pedophilia while I can. :)

  14. I guess I’d have the same discussion I did with my boys…through my sobs of joy on hearing both decisions on the radio as we drove to school. “There are three parts to the government: the people who make the laws, the people who enforce the laws, and the people who decide if the laws are fair. I’m really happy because today the men and women who decide if laws are fair, called judges, said that everybody has to be treated the same. That the law can’t say that some people get to be a family and some don’t. A family is a family, the judges said. In some parts of our country, people say that people who are different colors can’t be a family together. Of course, that’s wrong, because people are all people, no matter what color they are. So judges say, hey, you can’t do that. People get to choose who they marry. In some parts of the country, the laws say that two men can’t get married, or two women can’t get married. But the judges today said that’s not okay; that if there are laws for marriage, those laws have to say everyone gets to marry the person they love. End of story. The laws can’t tell you that some people’s love is okay and some people’s love isn’t okay. Laws in this country have to be fair. And people who don’t like two men being married or two women being married aren’t allowed, the judges said, to tell them to stop.”

    I know that introduces the idea that some people don’t think you and your partner can’t be dads together. But they do, in fact, think that. And the law is not allowed to say that.

    Congratulations. You get to have this talk while they’re small, and by the time they’re thinking about marriage they will assume all humans have the right to marry anyone they love. Pretty awesome assumption to have, I think!

    • Yes, I agree with all your points, but I think those discussions can happen when my kids get older. I feel the same way about interracial marriage. They know kids who are biracial, and we don’t make a big deal of it. For that matter, we don’t make a big deal about race at all. Maybe they’ll come to us someday and say, “Some kids were teasing Johnny because his Mommy and Daddy look different.” We would definitely have the conversation then, and we’d make sure they had Johnny’s back from then on.

      • I also forgot how young your children are. My eldest knows about the civil rights movement, so it is a great continuation of that. My youngest knows a lot less, and we didn’t have any Supreme Court talk with him.

  15. “This is undoubtedly an historical moment, but I’ve decided this is one bit of history they can wait to learn about until their high school history class, because the world the Supreme Court just brought us one step closer to, is one my kids already live in.”

    That line to me is beautiful. How fortunate you are that in a way, you will open up your children’s eyes to every detail of adversity. As a result of your family, I can guarantee that your children will be some of the most honest, open-minded, loving people that this new era has yet to see. I can’t wait until our children grow up with these news ideals instilled upon them. The world will be such a much more beautiful place. Not saying it isn’t already, but THESE children will run our country without racism, etc.

    • Yes, it’s been amazing to see how much our country (and world) has changed in my lifetime on issues of race, gender and sexual orientation, among other things. And things are only going to go forward. It’s nice to think that our kids’ starting point is this moment in time. My kids have only known an African-American president and a world in which gay marriage is (at least in some areas) legal. The next generation will be so much less tainted by racism, homophobia and all the rest. Gives you hope for the future, for sure.

  16. Just tell them that some people think that you should only be able to have a marriage if it’s one of each, a man and a woman, instead of two men or two women. Then say, “But lots of people believe lots of silly stuff that doesn’t make sense.” Let them know it’s out there, then blow it off, and heavily imply that they have the right to think about what other people tell them, and decide if it makes sense to them.

    Let them know that sometimes, grownups can simply be wrong.

    This may/will come back to bite you on the ass when they turn into teenagers, but that’s part of parenting. :-)

    • That’s exactly what I will say… when my kids come and ask me about it. Until then, there’s no need to tell them about the silly people. It only gives them credibility.

  17. My daughter just assumed it was a good thing. We’ve talked about it at home and she has wondered why gay parents can’t get married like her own straight parents. She also saw the ugly Prop 8 protests a few years ago near our home. Kids at her school have gay parents so it just seems right to her that ALL parents should be able to get married. Plus we’ve told our daughter that being a gay couple isn’t all about sex – it is like any relationship – it is about love and respect and building a life together. It is about making a family.

  18. What an interesting post. I guess I’d not considered that folks in your position would sort of have to take a step back in order to help your kids understand what the significance of these decisions is to everybody else. They’d probably just say “duh” otherwise.

    I live in what I’d consider a “red” part of the State of Missouri. The funny thing is that while we moved out here from the City to help our kids make more friends and get a better public school education, they’re not exposed to the diversity of people that would help them be more well rounded socially. We’ll have to explain things as they come up since certain situations aren’t a part of their everyday lives. I don’t know if that’s a good trade off or not.

    • Yes, you make a really good point. I’m lucky to live in a very diverse part of the country, so my kids are exposed to different types of people all the time. If they don’t see certain things first-hand, they may need to be exposed to it in other ways.

  19. I was about 10 or 11 when I found out about my mother seeing another woman. I don’t know how I knew, but while I was fine with it and the woman she was seeing, I knew somebody wouldn’t be okay with it. So I have yet to experience any direct homophobia, but I have sensed it in society.
    I’m so glad with the SCOTUS decision and I hope your kids don’t have to learn about the magnitude of the decision for a long time.

  20. My older kids discovered racism through school when they learned about the civil rights movement. It totally blew their minds that people were considered less-than based on the color of their skin. They were appalled. Same-sex marriage will be the same. Here’s hoping the country continues moving in the right direction and quickly.

    • I’ve always said that Martin Luther King day taught my kids racism. And that isn’t a judgement about MLK day–just that in school, right around that day every year, they explained civil rights. Until then, my kids had no idea that anyone would see anything different in people according to skin color.

      • Well, I do think that kids should learn about racism — and homophobia as well — in a historical context. MLK Day might teach kids about racism, but it’s also an occasion to teach them about tolerance and unity. I did talk to my kids about it this year, but I just explained it as, “Today’s a holiday for a very important man who said that people should all be nice to each other.” As they get older, we’ll go more into specifics.

  21. Loved your post! My sister-in-law is gay and just got married to her long-time partner in a ceremony officiated by a minister, which isn’t a legal marriage in Ohio. They’ll have to go to New York or somewhere to make it official, and I’m glad that my kids are 21 and 26, so I don’t have to have those awkward conversations. However, I’ll pass this along to my friends/family members who have younger kids because you’ve provided some really great insight as to what it’s like on the OTHER side of the fence. THANKS for sharing!
    ~TB

  22. To explain same sex marriages to kids would depend on what you believe and what you want to teach your kids. I personally do not believe in it, but as an adult its my responsibility to teach kids what it means to be gay. Addressing the bees would be a good time to get to it.

  23. I have always been open to my daughter about today’s issues rather it be environmentalism, the birds and the bees and so forth. My mom had the same method of parenting so I guess that is why discussing the issue of gay marriage or right to marry was not stressful for me. On the other hand it is a little stressful for my husband who comes from a more conservative family any topic about sex he shys from as sometimes we do butt heads. Therefore I spoke with him and we both agree not to give opinions to our thirteen year old daughter but explain that all people are equal no matter their sex, religion, race or sexual orientation. Because my daughter has been exposed to a more accepting upbringing, (my family) she really did not have any questions she was just happy with the Supreme Court Decision.

    My only advice is to make sure that as parents you are on the same page with this topic as well as age appropriate. Have a great day, Allie.

  24. How to talk to kids about gay marriage??

    Well Junior, there has always been nefarious behaviour; Cain killed his brother, Joe lied to Mary, Paul stole from Louise, Mrs. Smith committed adultery against herself, her husband, and God.

    Sin is as old as time son. Those of us who have a proclivity to a member of the same sex are just another run of the mill garden variety sinner. There is no sense hiding this fact, but since I do not believe in God, and will not be accountable in any real measure, I can eat drink, and be merry.

    That’s about son, hope you appreciate my honesty. And by the way, we despise any who points out these deficiencies of character.

  25. I read your title, and before I ever saw what you wrote, my first instinct was to ask if you explained any other SCOTUS ruling to your children, and why or why not. If not, no reason to explain this one. If you do, though, first – congrats, I’m sure most parents don’t even pay attention themselves, let alone try to explain our country’s third branch to their children.

    But after reading your actual entry, well it’s obvious why you’d raise the question. I’d say … depending on how old your children are, it *is* an important thing to discuss. Just like racism and ethnicity. Just like environment and GMOs. Because some things don’t get better through ignorance of them. Some wrongs can’t be righted through pretending they aren’t there.

    If your kids are old enough to learn about prejudice and doing what’s right, they should learn why the Supreme Court had to correct an injustice in law. They should learn that many people harbor prejudices and push for inequality, because they need to be learning how to spread diversity and acceptance.

    There is only so far you can go being ignorant of the society you live in. At some point, they will be put in a position to take a stand. If they don’t know there’s even a stand to take, are you sure they’ll be prepared to take it?

  26. Great post! I love the fact that you are going to discuss with your kids the importance of this Supreme Court decision.

  27. Pingback: DOMA | “Music is what feelings sound like.”

  28. I think it’s awesome that your children already live in that world. It’s also awesome that you’ve had such a great experience.
    I’m really happy with the outcome of those two cases, even though I don’t like in the US or ever plan to. The USA is mimicked by many other countries, including the one I currently live in, so a victory for one is a victory for all. It’ll be a long time before members of the LGBT community in The Bahamas get that satisfaction, but it’s my hope that it’s on the way. Right now, we are fighting the Attorney General on a stupid statement she made about make anti-discrimination legislation, but EXCLUDING sexual orientation. Yeah. You read that right. Let’s stop discrimination against everyone except those LGBT folks. ‘Cause, well, you know… We don’t care. WHAAAAAT?!
    Anyway, good on you, good on America, and keep on keepin’ on. You rock! :)

  29. “I’ll wait for the kids to encounter it, and then it’ll seem as bizarre and unfounded to them as it should.”
    This is a beautifully insightful line. How lucky they are to have you! And how obvious it is that you have their best interests in mind. Bravo!

  30. Your commentary is fantastic. I am in total agreement with you. While our kids have straight parents, they have gay couples in our family, circle of friends, and neighborhood, and have grown up unaware that some people don’t approve of that. I never really told them about the recent SCOTUS victories for the same reason–why change the way they see things? It never occurred to me that you’d be in the same boat.

  31. I always considered discussions with my kids as matters of disclosure. Never lied to them, but I also didn’t disclose more info than seemed appropriate at any particular age.

    It’s easy to figure out how much info is appropriate by their attention span. They’ll quickly lose interest in any topic about which, you try to give them too much info.

    Beyond that, I tried to not use words that had shock value, because they will focus on the word instead of the content of the discussion.

    Good post, and congrats on being freshly pressed!

  32. I don’t know if I was lucky or cursed to have the talk with my daughter at the tender age of 9 about same-sex marriage and LGBT couples. I have a sister who’s married to a wonderful woman, and so our talk came before the supreme court ruling. She wanted to know why some of her classmates thought it was gross when same-sex couples were together. I told her that anyone can love anyone. It doesn’t matter what gender, or color, how tall, thin, short, or fat they are, and anyone who thought otherwise didn’t know what love truly was. I told her it was mean for people to judge other people without really knowing them and it was only important that people were happy with whoever they were with, regardless of gender. It was a no-brainer for her to understand. Kids are taught from the very beginning to be kind to one another and treat everyone equally at school. When I told her that extended to -everyone-, she understood, and then agreed with me. A week later my daughter was talking to me about how she might have a girlfriend when she grows up. I just smiled and said her girlfriend would be more than welcome to come to dinner.

  33. My perspective on most big issues when it comes to explaining to my little miss is to wait until she brings it up, for us to bring it up her reaction is, “look a butterfly can I chase it?” for her to bring it up and us explain its more along the lines of “Oh Ok …. {insert clarification question where required}, look a butterfly can I chase it?” basically the significance and understanding of the event won’t stand out until they are much older

    kids are amazingly accepting of everything around them especially explained in simple terms

  34. Hey Jerry,
    Im writing from Poland where even a proposal to debate on civil unions legalization was rejected. Im very ashamed of all of the people who make homosexual people lives troublesome and simply unfair. There’s no difference. Everybody should be allowed to love whoever they want. In case of Poland I believe the problem derives from religion, which makes me even more upset since it makes me drift away from faith. I wish you all the best Jerry!

  35. i wish we could, instead, figure out a way to convey to the court and adults about how children are so much more respectful and accepting by nature… perhaps there is so much we need to know from these kids.. loved the read!

  36. A friend recently posted a rant on FB about Newsweek saying Bert and Ernie are out of the closet. At first, I was angered, but then I realized that sex does not have to enter into children’s worlds. As a matter of fact, it shouldn’t. The day when people don’t have to explain their relationship status, or have to worry that people will misconstrue whatever that relationship might be, will be a good day for everyone. Gay, straight, asexual. But, yes, leave the kids out of it. Let them be as innocent and accepting as they are of everyone for as long as they can! Great post.

  37. You seem like a fantastic dad – I’m really glad you got Freshly Pressed (congrats!!) because otherwise I wouldn’t have found your post!!! The world needs more critically-thinking parents like yourself.
    Much love from Western Australia xx

  38. Hmmm. I’ll add a contrary viewpoint if you don’t mind. I’m chortling over the various comments that say children are more accepting than adults. My kids – 3 girls adopted from China into a white family – didn’t experience any overt racism until they went to school. It was there, In the mixed vegetable soup of elementary school they bumped into more than one bigoted child. As often as not I heard about it from another child or a friend because kids frequently don’t divulge these things to their parents. I hope your children don’t experience homophobia but I think, like “Creative Metaphor”, it is important to help them understand so they can manage the inevitable ingnoramus they will encounter.

  39. I would recommend going down the Irish Catholic route of ignoring the situation and hoping it is never brought up. That’s how it was when I was growing up and has not left me emotionally damaged or anything……actually thinking about it, it probably isn’t a good idea.

  40. “This is undoubtedly an historical moment, but I’ve decided this is one bit of history they can wait to learn about until their high school history class, because the world the Supreme Court just brought us one step closer to, is one my kids already live in.”

    Yes. Thank you.

  41. Parenting is very difficult. But the most important thing that children need is love, then encouragement. They will respond positively to both of those things. Unfortunately, when a person doesn’t know what love is, and the only way they won’t know what love is would be if they never received it, then there is ignorance and all the bad things that go with it. I don’t know that I would say that I am enlightened. To me all of this is just common sense, but that is a commodity that is sorely lacking in todays society. At least there is plenty of love and common sense in your home. God bless you and yours.

  42. I watched the movie ‘Cloud Atlas’ the other day, just on the chance that it would be interesting, and it made an interesting point regarding the fluidity of our views. It made the point that throughout every age, those beliefs considered the ‘natural order of things’ were merely conventions waiting to be challenged. The position of females in society, the superiority of of those with different skin colours and the usefulness to society of those with handicaps, are all areas where strongly held beliefs were proved to be mere conventions of their time and place.

  43. I made Loving Day (June 12th, the day inter-racial marriage was declared legal in the US) one of the holidays we celebrated in our house and told our kids that when their dad and I were born, it would have been illegal for us to get married. No one around us ever celebrated it so our kids loved that we had an “extra” holiday. It was my way of letting them know that people had come before dad and I had fought for the privilege that they probably took for granted. I have since stopped celebrating it, as the human genome project destroyed any idea of different races for me, but you could make the day a holiday?

  44. I think it’s really important for kids to know about concepts like prejudice, racism and discrimination, no matter how uncomfortable they make us. It’s essential that there’s an open dialogue between adults and children concerning these issues as otherwise kids may get facts distorted. There has been a lot of cruelty in the world, but also a lot of perseverance and strength among minorities and targeted groups, and this should inspire children.

  45. I think you should go ahead and explain. Better they should hear about bigotry from you than from the first creep who spews it at them. Forewarned is forearmed, etc.

  46. Personally I don’t think you should tell them yet. If your kids have grown up in a world where prejudice has yet reared it’s ugly head you may worry them before their time. This world really is progressing and the day an incident does happen may be further off than you think. I think when you do tell them, you must make sure that they understand that it IS such a small minority who actually possess these stupid views and an even smaller minority who will actually act on it. I hope I’m not being too optimistic but my fiance and I are planning on having children soon and although we are a straight couple I really hope that our kids can grow up not even needing to know what the word homophobia means. I don’t mean that we should neglect to teach our children of past prejudices, but I’d like my kids to be children as long as they can be rather than teaching them to worry about small-minded bigotry at such an early age.

  47. Pingback: Bravo to “The Boxtrolls” | Mommy Man

  48. When I came out to my parents my sister asked me what bisexual meant. I explained to her that it just meant that I might date and fall in love with a girl or I might date and fall in love with a boy. Her only response was that’s nice and that before I could fall in love with anyone she had to approve of them first. That’s all she cared about. I hope she never has to experience homophobia from having a queer big sister but if she does I know she’ll be able to handle it with love and acceptance because she’s awesome. I think your children will be able to do the same. Good luck!

  49. Here in Canada we’ve had same-sex marriage longer than Americans. I can honestly say it hasn’t destroyed traditional marriage or wrecked our social system. In fact, unless you’re one of the people directly affected by it, you probably don’t even notice that gay people now have the same marital rights as their straight peers. One of the arguments against same-sex marriage was that it would force “normal” parents to, gasp, explain homosexuality to their precious, innocent children. In my experience, it just made it easier. My young son asked, “What does gay mean?” It was simple to tell him that some men marry other men or ladies marry other ladies. He wasn’t shocked or disgusted. He just accepted that this is the way some people are, just like some people have red hair and some are taller than others. By the way, you sound like a great dad! Nanette (thesailorswoman.wordpress.com)

  50. I’m not a parent yet, but i love this post. Especially because i’ve always asked the same questions “why dont gays get equal rights?” “Why can i get married any where in the world, and my wonderful gay friends cant?”
    My greatest hope however is that by the time i have my kids, i wouldn’t have to answer this questions to them. Hopefully, they can come with me to my gay friends wedding; anywhere in the world!

  51. Pingback: Mommy and Daddy Bloggers Shoot the Poop: Part One | The Daily Post

  52. On 25th March 2012 voters of Slovenia declined proposal of a law, that would provide higher level of equality of straight and gay families. The law was introducing many good things, but the opposition to this small part related to equality was too strong. Participation on referendum was 30.31%. 54.55% voted against, altogether 279.937 people.
    I am straight. I don’t know any gay families. (In Slovenia, I would have to call them ‘families’, or officially: same-sex partnerships.)
    After reading this post I am starting to be aware of a huge task I am facing. And it’s the opposite of yours, Jerry. How will my children accept gay family, when they meet one, as something natural and normal? Will they be able to recognize that the mindset of the majority of people of their country is unfounded?

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