Talking to your child about same-sex marriage

This week’s blog post is by WDP co-host Matt Rocco, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with Professor Foster ( his “Brown Mom” wife), and their 3-year old daughter Viva, who is three, she’s wee, get used to it.

My daughter noticed that our Facebook pages started looking like Skittles ads last week, and that there were increased levels of jollity about the neighborhood.

“An important thing happened that is exciting to the gay community and people who support them,” I told her.

“But, Daddy,’ she replied, “I thought the Tony Awards were last month?”

Hey-oh! Thanks, folks, I’ll be here all week!

But seriously, this weekend marked the Supreme Court’s decision that individual states cannot ban same-sex unions, and this decision coincided with Pride weekend here in the Windy – so it got pretty rainbow-y up in here.

My wife and I are in the Arts, and we live in Andersonville/Edgewater, so our toddler has been exposed to same sex couples her whole life – gay neighbors, gay babysitters – and when Uncle Jesse and Uncle Adrian came to stay with us and she realized there was no “Aunt” involved, she wondered what was up.

We told her that sometimes boys and girls get married, sometimes boys and boys get married, and sometimes girls and girls get married. She actually thought we were kidding. You see, everything in kid world is about gender norms, “boys do this, girls do that.” I’m not sure if that is how the brain tends to categorize things or if it’s purely a product of Madison Avenue. After all, in the girl toy aisle, everything is pink, and even the Lego blocks only build princess castles, shopping centers and caves to go hide in when you have your period.

But after we told her that boys really do marry boys, she nodded and happily hopped off. Pretty simple really. Someone should try telling, say, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and a little less than half the Supreme Court.

She did wonder recently why some states didn’t want same-sex marriage – we told her that sometimes certain states want to be mean to people, and we need the occasional judicial decisions (or bloodiest war in American history) to ensure that things like allowing same-sex marriage, allowing interracial marriage, or not allowing PEOPLE OWNING OTHER PEOPLE AS PROPERTY are matters decided by the country, not by assorted backwaters. And it is important to us that she know that the same people who would ban gay marriage would eventually come back around to not allowing interracial marriage (which would preclude her existence), and that those who would deny human rights to others really do eventually come for you.

It’s hard to explain to her the four holdout judges – it is my personal belief that Antonin Scalia and his writings and decisions are elaborate performance art, like when Andy Kaufman was wrestling women. And given that Clarence Thomas hasn’t spoken in court in almost a decade, I’m assuming he’s some kind of hologram or a marionette.

Anyhow, sometimes boys and girls get married, sometimes boys and boys get married, and sometimes girls and girls get married, and it wasn’t legal because some people are jerks, and now it is legal. Seems simple, no?

But it sure took a while to get there.

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