Twelve-year old Daniel Martinez-Leffew, who is adopted, heard the news the other day about Supreme Court Justice John Roberts having two adopted kids, and decided that he wanted to write a letter to Justice Roberts before next week’s Prop 8 / DOMA oral arguments about the gay marriage issue.
Daniel, his sister, and his two dads live in Northern California. So Prop 8 – that repealed the right of gay couples to marry in that state in 2008 – directly affect him and his family.
As an aside, the gay news is exploding today. There are a number of stories I still have to write, so excuse me, and indulge me, if the blog is a bit gayer than normal (and it’s normally quite gay). These are interesting times.
Daniel and his sister are adopted, and Daniel was struck by the similarity of his situation (being one of two adopted kids) and Justice Roberts’ two adopted kids. He wanted to tell Roberts that “my family is just as valuable and worthwhile as any other.”
One thing that’s particularly striking about Daniel’s letter is that he talks about the fact that he has a genetic disorder, Goldenhar Syndrome, that affects the entire left side of his body (watching the video, it almost appears as if Daniel is recovering from a stroke). He explains:
“We were adopted when I was five, and my sister was about 12 months old. When I was in foster care, I was told that I was considered ‘unadoptable’ because of my Goldenhar Syndrome. That is a genetic disorder that affects the whole left side of my body. I lost my little brother Emilio because some people wanted to adopt him but they weren’t willing to adopt me because of my medical conditions. Lucky for me, that’s when my two dads came along.”
It’s a story that’s been mostly forgotten as the AIDS crisis has faded from the news (even though it’s still a crisis), but in the 1990s, it was gay couples who were adopting HIV+ kids. For the most part, no one else wanted them, so gay couples stepped in. When straight couples said “no way,” gay couples said “family.”
Here’s Daniel’s letter to Chief Justice Roberts. I think at one point, when Daniel’s dad says he hopes the letter gets there before they make their decision, Daniel appears to say “that would suck” if it didn’t. It’s too cute. And don’t worry, Daniel, while the oral arguments are next week, the decision won’t come down for two or three months, so there’s ample time. Your letter will get there.