I forget sometimes. I need to be reminded. Many, many people don't think that gay people should be allowed to parent. I certainly was reminded of this on Election Day when the state of Arkansas passed a ballot initiative prohibiting gay and lesbian couples from adopting.
I think there are times when I think those attitudes don't exist where I live with my family - here in a diverse New Jersey suburb, a mere 14 miles west of midtown Manhattan.
It was on one of those days that I sat down to write something for the Newark Star Ledger's parenting blog, Parental Guidance. I started writing there a few weeks ago - I'd written about holiday shopping for teenagers and the meaning of holiday cards for my 81 year old mom. But this post was about being a lesbian mom. I mixed it up - illustrating that we face all the same joys and craziness that straight parents do along with some serious commentary about the real ways in which our families are treated as 'less than' in the eyes of the law. I included a nice picture of my family. This one in fact:
I swear I am not trying to drive traffic to this post. It wasn't even one of my best. I wrote it at a ski lodge while my kids were skiing (and I wasn't).
The lead story is not the post. It's all about the comments. Within hours of posting what I felt was quite a tame piece, my post became the hottest post on the site, comments coming in like wildfire. Some were supportive but the overwhelming majority of comments were not. Very not.
Here's a sampling of what some folks in Essex County, NJ think about gay parents.
I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Those poor kids. I bet they get rideculed to no end in school. Hell, when I was in high school, "you have 2 dads" was a chant we yelled at opposing players to try and rattle them.
Why plaster the kids faces all over the paper when it will single them out. Keep your business to yourself. Being selfish about your "situation" could set your kids up for abuse. Real parents put their kids first...
The young kid in the picture is obviously gay, how did that happen?
Stop shoving your gay agenda down our throats. Nobody cares.
I once knew a lesbian. We used to make fun of her.
The only lesbian parents that should be allowed are young hot blondes.
Sadly, they go on. But you get the idea.
My friend Debbie wrote me an email after reviewing all the comments. She told me she feels very protective of me and she doesn't feel like I should write for them anymore. Why should I subject myself to that?
I received a good many emails from straight and gay friends of mine, stunned by it all. They just couldn't believe it.
That's exactly why I should subject myself to it.
There is no hope for those who leave comments like this. But our best hope rests in getting those who stand with us fired up.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have an nj.com post to write....