Marriage and the shadow of my kids’ future

This week has been a good week for  marriage.  Pennsylvania and Oregon’s bans have been struck down, and Utah must recognize all marriages that were legally performed in that state.   One friend from college announced that her wedding in Canada would most likely be cancelled and relocated to her home town once details are re-arranged.  Another college buddy happily posted that his boyfriend of twelve years is now expecting a ring as they agreed that they would not get engaged or married if they could not do it at their home.

I was also home as my almost two year old son had just enough day care crud to keep him home. 

When I heard the Pennsylvnia news, I looked at my son, and thought about my almost five and a half year old, which makes her almost six daughter and I cried as I thought about the possibility spaces of their futures. 

I don’t know much about my kids’ futures.

I know that they will always be loved and treasured.  I know my daughter probably won’t get that Division 1 soccer scholarship unless there is a rules revolution for a butterfly chasing position.  I know my daughter will be a dork (which is a good thing as my wife and I can raise a dork, we would be clueless about how to raise a social butterfly).  I know my son will think his big sister is the most awesome person in the world, and that my daughter does her best to maintain that perception.  I know that their option space and potentiality space is massively wider than my mine was at their age. 

I have no clue as to whether or not they are straight, gay, bi or something else and in-between. 

I do know that by the time they start having those awkward feelings about that cutie in second period English, same sex marriage will be an anachronistic term that Mom and Dad occassionally use to show how unwith it we are. 

I do know that whatever they are, they’ll be living in a world where if they find someone who makes them be the best person that they can be, they’ll be able to marry that person without worrying about the implications of moving across state lines. I do know that if they find someone like I found in my wife and their mother, they can be as lucky as I have been and am.

26 replies
  1. 1
    NotMax says:

    Same-sex marriage, please.

    There is no requirement to prove gayitude to wed.

  2. 2
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @NotMax: Updated :)

  3. 3
    Ash Can says:

    Lovely post. There is good news in this world despite all the bad, and this is definitely some of it.

  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Last fall I went to a reception for a longtime friend at her parents house in IL. She and her SO had decided to wed on the spur of the moment when in CA for the wedding of one of their brothers. The wedding consisted of them, a preacher and a pair of tourists who happened by and agreed to act as witnesses.

    The funny thing was, if they had waited just a few months, they could have had the wedding at Mel’s parents’ house. How fast things are changing now.

  5. 5
    Randy P says:

    Yay for us in PA. I was in a coffeehouse in what is called the “gayborhood” in Philly last night. The mood was, not surprisingly, cheerful.

    Now if we can get rid of our wingnut governor Corbett in November I’ll be really happy.

  6. 6
    Baud says:

    I think marriage equality is pervasive enough now that Kennedy will feel comfortable voting for it when it reaches the Supreme Court. The decision, however, will still be 5-4. (Or possibly 6-3 if Roberts actually fears being labeled a bigot by history, but I think his conservatism will win out).

  7. 7
    Betty Cracker says:

    My sister and her partner, whom I’ve considered my sister-in-law for about a decade and a half now, are making it official in NYC this summer. No marriage equality in FL yet, but that day is coming. Since my SIL is a New Yorker, their getting married there makes sense.

  8. 8
    NotMax says:

    In the fictional hereafter, Edith Bunker’s cousin Liz is smiling.

  9. 9
    geg6 says:

    They were dancing in the streets in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood (prettiest and gayest neighborhood in the city!). Warmed my old cynical heart. So did the whining by Bishop Zubik, that asshole.

    Now let’s oust that bastard Corbett!

  10. 10
    Emma says:

    I had to stay home with the cruds today too. This is the first thing I’ve read. Thank you for this. If there is an afterlife, somewhere, I am sure, my beloved cousin is dancing. And I will be able to attend several weddings down here. Though, as Betty said, not in Florida. Yet.

  11. 11
    satby says:

    Beautiful post Richard! My 25 year old gay nephew’s future has brightened considerably just in his lifetime. All parents want their children to be happy, and one barrier is dissolving so much faster than I think any of us expected.

  12. 12
    Cassidy says:

    But it’ll be underwater with lots of UV radiation. Good times.

  13. 13
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Betty Cracker: No gay marriage in MO either, but our somewhat conservative Democratic Governor Jay Nixon has decided that if one is legally married in another state, one is allowed to file their state taxes as “Married Filing Jointly.” Has to do with the wording of tax law in this state that says Fed and state should match.

    Naturally enough, the veto proof conservative Republican majorities in the state legislature want to impeach him.

  14. 14
    Penus says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Our legislature (Virginia) didn’t pass its usual “tax conformity” legislation for that reason. Can’t be on record doing anything that would help Teh Gheys. Instead it was just a small bill related to the EITC. Didn’t matter how much more complicated it would make the filing process – gay people could get something that makes them happy!

  15. 15
    Ferdzy says:

    I’ve spent the last month dealing with my father’s partner being very ill (he will be in the hospital for months to come) and the subsequent need to get my Dad into a nursing home. They are not legally married*, but I have been really happy how everyone we have dealt with has responded when I tell them they are partners. They (and we) live in small, conservative towns and I don’t think most of the people we are telling have much if any contact with openly gay people. Nevertheless, after the initial 5 seconds of blinking, everyone has accepted the fact with something ranging from polite professionalism to slightly disconcerting enthusiasm.

    This is a big difference from when my father was in the hospital with the same disease (Guillan Barré) 30 years ago, when he was put in a room with a man dying of AIDS for no other reason than that both were gay, and then both were ignored as much as the staff could get away with.

    The changes I have seen in the last 35 years are just amazing. Social changes have brought legal changes, and legal changes have brought social changes. This has been a sad and difficult time, but thank civilization I haven’t had to deal with any bigotry. (Or medical expenses, but that’s another thread.)

    *But Ontario recognizes common-law marriage after 2 years, and they have been together for 35 years.

  16. 16
    Jasmine Bleach says:

    Well, if the Pennsylvania order isn’t stayed or anything stupid like that, that makes 19 states plus Washington DC where same sex marriage is now fully legal, or about 43% of the population of the entire country has access to it.

    We are rapidly approaching the half-way mark. Plus, this doesn’t include the 8 states where a federal judge has ruled bans on it illegal but where that decision has been stayed pending legal appeal.

  17. 17
    Randy P says:

    @geg6: Heh. We wrote pretty much the same post from our respective corners of PA. Now about that part in the middle…

  18. 18
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Randy P: That’s when we get rid of old OneTermTom.

  19. 19
    katie5 says:

    Not to rain on the parade, but there will be a whole lot of ugly before anti-gay discrimination is a distant memory.

  20. 20
    geg6 says:

    @Randy P:

    Yeah, it’s the middle that keeps the PA Legislature filled with wingnuts. I fear it will be years, probably decades, before we can sweep them out.

    But we have some full-throated liberals who won last night. And they are attractive candidates and, if they get out the vote, they can win most of the rest of the state government. I’m going to work just as hard this year as I did in ’08 and ’12. I think a lot of us just didn’t put enough effort into ’10 (I did GOTV, but not as many hours), so I refuse to shoulder any blame for what happens this fall, at least as far as my own actions go.

  21. 21
    sparrow says:

    Not to be a downer, but children alive today will probably see the end of civilization as we know it.

    Once the arctic permafrost starts releasing methane, it will be game over. Remember that the 0.85 degree warming we’ve experienced so far corresponds to emissions from the 1970s. Even if we ceased all industrial activity right now we’ve already triggered too many feedback loops.

    A lot of people don’t know that the Earth basically lives at the inner edge of the `habitable zone’ for our planet. Human activity is going to basically push us out of the habitable zone. Joy.

    The only way out I see, as a scientist, is some as-yet-unknown geo-engineering project on a massive scale. But we are not investing in this problem at all. Our own elites will prevent humanity from saving itself.

  22. 22
    burnspbesq says:

    Maybe she’s a late bloomer. Or maybe some other activity will grab her.

    When the kid was six, we put him in soccer, gymnastics, and dance. He spent the last two years on a partial scholarship in the dance department at Cornish, and in September he’s transferring to the London Contemporary Dance School.

    If you let them, kids usually find what they love, and max out their potential at it.

  23. 23
    TAGinMO says:


    Not to be a downer, but children alive today will probably see the end of civilization as we know it.

    I question your downerism-avoidance strategy.

  24. 24
    Scott Alloway says:

    Here in Philly, a woman who writes for our little paper where I work announced her engagement last night to her long-time partner. I posted best wishes on the private publisher’s list-serve and then went to read what others wrote. To say I am disappointed is a misstatement.
    To wit, one wrote “Your self absorbed announcement is an anathema to many; as yet one more example of a rapidly devolving society. Whenever given the chance to vote on it, citizens reject it, which is why your activists must rely on unelected judges to force your agenda. You knew it, which is why you sent it. Most people cower to the extortion and bullying tactics your side engages in; as displayed immediately by you and Y…. . I don’t.”
    My response to her: “F*** ’em.”
    Ah, the wingnuts (and most of the list people there are such) never fail to lower expectations.
    They have no sense of decency, do they.

  25. 25
    Diana says:

    Beautiful post!

    Unfortunately when your children are of an age to be married I suspect we will be all far too worried about the weather.

  26. 26
    David says:

    Trying to come up with an original response–‘Beautiful Post!’ having been taken–but I give up and echo those words.

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