Yesterday was National Coming Out Day and I wanted to share something a little more personal. While it’s not about me, it is connected to my coming out.
Since I came out seven years ago, my mom has been on a journey. Many in my family weren’t surprised, and all have been incredibly supportive and accepting, but to my mom, this was unexpected news. Since that day, she’s stepped up and made fighting for equality a personal cause. She’s come out of her comfort zone to take an active role in local efforts in the campaigns on marriage equality (both in 2009 and today) – something that’s not as easy as you might think when you live in a small town. Knowing that you may find out some of your neighbors and life-long friends might not believe your child deserves equal rights is daunting.
But now, she’s gone a step further and has a letter to the editor running in several newspapers around the area where I grew up. Sally Field shows us what a high-profile mother advocate looks like, but I’d like to think mine is just as impactful (though, I am admittedly biased).
I know a lot of people who have had very different – and very painful – reactions from family and friends when they came out. Even in the scariest moments, I knew I was lucky to becoming out into the family I was. What I didn’t know was how truly lucky I was. I have a family that doesn’t just accept me, they stand up and speak out for my rights. So it’s a day late for National Coming Out Day, but I want to thank my mom and the rest of my family for their efforts to fight for me and for the LGBT community.
I’m a mom. I can’t write a letter as a lawyer about marriage inequality or as a pastor about how the Bible should be interpreted in terms of marriage. There are many others who have and, hopefully, will continue to speak to those issues.
I’m a mom who can write about my family. I am so proud of our six children. We have eight grandchildren and expect our ninth by the end of this year. I have been blessed with kids that are tolerant of others and grandchildren who are being raised to be tolerant of others.
I have watched five of my kids get married. I have watched the ceremonies with tears in my eyes and my heart filled with joy that they were able to commit to the person they loved in an open, loving way. As a parent, I want that for all my kids. I can’t imagine how anyone would think that my gay son is less deserving than my other children to be able to share in the security that a marriage brings and the recognition of their commitment. I don’t mean the ceremony of the wedding – as beautiful as they are – but the legal rights that marriage affords to people. Yes, I would love to watch the ceremony for all my children but, more than that, I want them to be able to commit under the law and benefit from the protection that brings to them. I want to know that they are all treated fairly and equally.
One of my grandkids was talking to his mom about marriage equality and asked her why anyone would care who someone else loved. She couldn’t explain it to him and if he had asked me, I wouldn’t have been able to explain it either to him. The very fact that he wonders at his young age or that my mom, of an older generation, wonders why others care gives me hope that this inequality will end in November in Maine.
As a mom I will be voting Yes on 1 on November 6th. I will do this with all the love I have in me for my kids and their kids and others who believe that people deserve to be treated equally. I will do it with great pride in all my kids – pride in who they are and who they love. I will do it knowing that when the time comes that all my kids want to be legally married, they will be and I will be one happy mom.
Please join me in voting Yes on 1.