With the Proposition 8 and DOMA cases set to hit the Supreme Court at the end of this month, the real need for marriage equality and reason behind these legal challenges can sometimes be lost among the political posturing and legal discussion. Then a video like the one released by the Leffew family of Gay Family Values reminds everyone what the cases are really about; families.
The video, posted on Sunday, is a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts that was written and read by Daniel Martinez-Leffew, the son of two dads; Jay and Bryan. Daniel recently learned that Chief Justice Roberts has two adopted children and felt compelled to show the Justice how similar their two families are. Daniel and his sister, Selena, were adopted by their fathers about seven years ago.
"Family means a lot of different things to different people but some people believe that you have to have the same blood to be a family. You and I both know that family goes deeper than blood. It's important that all families are protected and valued."
Given their experiences when the kids have spoken out in the past, it is likely that Jay and Bryan will be criticized by anti-gay activists like those at Focus on the Family, or a similarly anti-gay organization. Late last year, the family posted a video of Selena singing a song about her fathers (inspired by Kinderen voor Kinderen's Twee Vaders).
Focus' Director of Family Formation Studies, Glenn Stanton accused the dads of positioning "Selena to the front of the culture war as a gay-family apologist." Stanton is a noted anti-gay activist but attacking a child's testimony to her love for her fathers was tantamount to bullying the little girl.
In this case, there will undoubtedly be people who claim that Daniel did not write his letter, or that he is being used as some sort of tool for his fathers. However, those people do not understand what is to have parents who are constantly being judged as unfit based not on the love and care they have for their children, but on the fact that they are the same sex.
On a personal note, my own moms never asked me to be an advocate for families like ours. I chose to do it actively and on my own, from a very young age. When I was about four or five, my moms and I went to Disney World. As always happens, we got stuck on a very long line and I became bored. I turned to the woman in line behind us and declared, "I have two moms!" The woman looked with horror for a moment, at myself and my parents, and then took her kids by the hands and promptly got out of line, away from us.
I wasn't trying to place myself in "the front of the culture war" and my parents certainly did not ask me to speak to the woman about our family, I was simply trying to start up a conversation. At the time I didn't fully understand the implications of the woman walking away from us, but it has stuck with me to this day.
If that woman had stayed and chatted with me a while she might have realized that we were not so different from her family. I was all about soccer and Barbies in those days and it's very likely her kids were too. She and my moms could have chatted about being on the sidelines at our games and lamented having Barbie shoes strewn around the house.
Daniel and Selena have only done what any of us who were raised by LGBT parents, wish to do; Defend and applaud our parents for everything they've done.