My Turn by Mike Clawson: A father’s view of gay marriage
On the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, this father would like to offer his thoughts. They call it the happiest day of your life for a reason. Getting married, after all, is often the foundation on which every family generation stands strong. After our happiest of days, my wife and I set about doing what married couples do ... working, playing, building a home and raising our kids.
As married adults and parents, we go about running our family’s business, trying to emulate for our children, a picture of the happy and healthy family. Another thing our kids get from us, hopefully, is some semblance of what a loving, adult, spousal relationship should be like.
My wife and I are the proud parents of two wonderful daughters. The girls worked hard in school and are well educated, both having earned (or earning) multiple degrees. Both are now gainfully employed, contributing to their communities and to society in general. And they are both in long-term loving relationships.
In August, I will have the incredible honor and privilege of walking my youngest daughter down the aisle, to join the man she has chosen to begin her life with in loving matrimony. As a dad, it will no doubt, be one of the happiest days of my (and my wife’s) life, watching one of our girls go off to perpetuate that circle of life’s lessons that were taught to her by her parents. Alas, our eldest daughter cannot put to practice the life lessons my wife and I tried to instill in our girls about trust, respect and honor of your husband or wife. You see, this daughter is gay ... a lesbian.
Although she didn’t come out until the end of her freshman year of college, she was aware of her sexual orientation at a much earlier age. In retrospect, I often wonder what it must have been like for her as a young adult. At the very moment she became aware of sexuality and emotion, she must have known, that for her, there may never be that promise of a future spouse, a family and a home. It’s difficult to understand what those questions must do to a young person. In many ways, it must be a sharp, painful wound to the psyche.
We can continue to debate the issue of same-sex marriage. We can debate theology, the issue of procreation, the separation of church and state and we can even debate the red herring polygamy. But what all the conversation boils down to is the basic institution of love. All humans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are born with the capacity to love and the need to be loved, and these things, above all, are what makes the world go round.
My daughter is the apple of her daddy’s eye. She is the light of my life and a talented young woman whose joyous spirit helps brighten the lives of others. Last week’s Supreme Court decision put us proud parents of LGBT children one step closer to completing our circle of life. All we want is the opportunity to stand by our sons, or walk our daughters down the aisle, destined, as they are, to relish in that happiest day of their life. To love ... and to be loved.
Mike Clawson is president of Salisbury-Rowan PFLAG.
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