Four month old Maria Ahern, in the arms of her mother Chelsea Ahern, was at the Hawaii State Capitol on November 12, 2013 as the same-sex marriage bill advanced to passage. Dressed in rainbow colors to proclaim solidarity with LGBT families, Maria is one reason why marriage equality in Hawaii is a step forward to a kinder, gentler world, a world in which such proclamations of solidarity at least on this issue may be less necessary. Maria is the future.
Perhaps by the time little Maria is old enough to look back and revisit the day she was at the Hawaii State Capitol with her mommy for this historic vote, the predictions that society will be destroyed by the advent of marriage equality will seem, at best, quaint.
We hope that those who oppose marriage equality because they believe marriage is “publicly recognized primarily for the welfare of children,” will be able to someday see that the same-sex marriage law advances the welfare of all children by reducing discrimination and providing for equal benefits and protections for all families. Surely children, whether they are being raised in heterosexual or homosexual families, also benefit from being raised in a climate of reduced hostility to minorities and greater acceptance of difference? When we stop demonizing and diminishing others, we stop destroying lives.
Marriage equality is profoundly pro-life. People of faith who identify as pro-life should be able to see that, far from destroying society, same-sex marriage is life-affirming. We know only too well that we cannot take for granted that children are always “raised in a loving home by a mother and a father who loves them and whose love cooperated with God’s plan in creating them.” That may be what bishops would like to think happens– but the data says otherwise.
If we really care about our children, let’s do a better job of teaching families how to love and accept their children for what they are. If we really care about our children let’s direct the money and energies spent fighting marriage equality to addressing the thousands of LGBT young people who are turned out of their homes by their parents. According to recent media reports, a staggering 40 percent of America’s homeless youth are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
If we care about our children, let’s celebrate the fact that many LGBT couples want to provide a loving home for children and are raising healthy, happy children. If we care about our children, let’s show them through our example, our words and the laws that we all are supposed to respect, that we truly treat each other as equals. And if we care about our children and call ourselves Christian, let’s also remember that we’re called to love our neighbor just as much as we love ourselves.
If we can just remember that, perhaps someday Maria will indeed ask her mother in wonderment: what really was the opposition to marriage equality on November 12, 2013 all about?