A single Arizona judge has taken the audacious step of overthrowing Arizona’s constitutional marriagement amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman. He mistakenly and purposefully is denying children of what they need most: a mom and a dad. Read this account of what this judge, and many other judical activists around the nation, are doing by writing new, unwanted laws, from the bench.
I was raised by my biological mother and her same-sex partner. I have only a few fuzzy memories of my father: a phone call here and there, his deep and unfamiliar voice wishing me a happy birthday, and a dim picture of the way the furniture had been arranged in his house. I have less than a handful of pictures of him. My mom and dad were married for a short time but she left him when I was too young to remember. She always knew she was gay and she wanted a chance to be happy with someone she really loved—with a woman.
I was raised in an area that was pretty liberal, open, and accepting of gays and lesbians. I know my mother experienced a lot of pain at the hands of others because of her sexuality, but as a child of same-sex parents, I was never mistreated because of it. I had two loving mothers who cared for my every need and with whom I have many wonderful and sweet memories. There was one need, however, that they could never meet no matter how much they loved me: the need for a father.
I love my mom deeply, fiercely, and unconditionally. She is an incredible woman, but I cannot pretend that her decision to leave my father and raise me with another woman did not have long-term and devastating consequences for me. I am a casualty of same-sex parenting. You see, I also love my absent father. I love a man whom I don’t even know. A man who, by all accounts, is a lousy father. I don’t know why I love him, I just do. When you are separated from a parent, for whatever reason, a wound is inflicted upon you. I ached for my father to love me. I ached for the father I knew I would never have. Losing my father was a tragedy in my life and it is a loss that I feel deeply every day. It’s a loss that can be ignored or numbed, for a short time, but never forgotten. Growing up without my dad colored everything about me. I had abandonment issues. I expected and feared that everyone close to me would leave me. Even as an adult I still grieve for what was taken from me. It wasn’t until my husband and I had children and I watched him with our kids that the full weight of what I’d lost with my own father hit me. And it hit me like a ton of bricks. Many people believe that so long as a child has two parents, gender doesn’t matter. But it does. I shouldn’t love my dad, but I do. I should love my “other mom,” but I don’t. I can’t change that, though I’ve definitely tried.
My relationship with my “other mom” was awkward. She helped raise me through my most formative years and I cannot recall life without her. I have many fond memories with her, but what I mostly remember is how awkward and uncomfortable our relationship felt. I had a mom, a dad whom I ached for, and then I had her. I hated the times she would try to parent me by offering me comfort or discipline. I accepted her only as my mom’s partner, not as a parent. Later, when she and my mom split up I felt relieved. I felt sad for my mom but I didn’t miss my “other mom” despite the fact that she raised me as her own daughter.
As a child growing up within the gay community, I was exposed to a lot of inappropriate things very early on. From the adult toys and pornographic magnets in the local gay and lesbian bookstore, to the men who parade around in S&M costumes at gay pride festivals. My interaction with and exposure to these parts of the larger gay culture and my missing father created the perfect storm that led to my early sexualization. As I got older, I used attention from boys to try to fill the wound my missing father left. I found myself in two abusive relationships in college because I was looking for the love and approval of a man but I had no idea how a good man should treat me. I accepted almost anyone who would “love” me.
Do I wish my mom lived a miserable life married to a man she didn’t love? No. I want my mom to be happy. But I also wish that she and my dad did love each other and that somehow it could have worked out. Her happiness cost me a great deal. We have to recognize that all children of same-sex parents are being raised in brokenness. Something precious and irreplaceable has been taken from us. Two loving moms, or two dads, can never replace the lost parent. In my case, and in many like mine, I was raised by same-sex parents because I was intentionally separated from my other biological parent and then told that “all that matters is love” and “love makes a family”. Love matters, but accepting and promoting same-sex parenting promotes the destruction of families, not the building of families.