Friday, September 08, 2006

Heading Home

History, Part 6 of 8

We had both always wanted to be fathers. I think we both actually always knew we would be, but for the first half of our union, all that seemed impossible.

We were living in California, and assumed we would never return to “backwards”, “repressive” Utah. This was a very odd, somewhat difficult, though important time in our lives. We were away from the familiar, and away from family. I was stressed with graduate school and he with work, but it was during this time we really refined our marriage. Also, during this time I’d go months without ever realizing we were “gay” (the sort with social consequences :-)), such was the climate where we lived.

I had just finished up a MS, and was thinking of going on with a PhD there. But, at some point, we looked up and saw what was once hard to imagine had become commonplace--gay couples were raising children everywhere. The scales were tipped. A severe case of nesting hit us both, realizing a destiny implied to be near impossible was always there, waiting for us to be ready.

And we were urgently ready.

Suddenly, our great place in California, 10 minuets from the beach, didn’t look so hot. We knew we’d want our family around, want our children to grow up with their grandparents and their 35 cousins (We are from LDS families :-)).

Suddenly Utah wasn’t “backwards”, it was the place holding all our fond memories of childhood. Utah seemed family friendly again (and, despite the politics, Utahns are largely so, even towards our family). It’s where we knew we should raise our children, and in a matter of weeks we sold our house and headed home.

But it turned out we jumped the gun. We moved back too soon. We were “gay” again, reminded repeatedly by the local politics that we were less than them. Gay rights became far more important, and I regret we had neglected it for years.

We first planed to adopt. But we got to Utah just after a law passed making it impossible for “unmarried” (gay) couples in Utah to do just that. There are so many children in need of homes that they could not stop single people from adopting, and the law stops no single gay man or woman from adopting and many do.

It does keep many Utah children from having two legally responsible parents. It does make it so they can’t get on one of their parent’s health insurance or a claim to other legal benefits, from Social Security to military benefits. It does allow one parent to just up and leave, devastating the child, but with no legal consequence, no child support, despite their promises or their actual role in the child’s life.

That’s the majority of the Utah legislature for ya. They are so worried about “the children” (an imaginary world ideal of theirs) that they’re willing to attack the legal abilities of real children and families. They work tirelessly to keep gays as irresponsible as possible, and keep our children’s homes at a disadvantage (it makes sense to them). At least some irony can be found in the fact that they aren’t near successful, Utah being in the top 3 of US states in the percentage of gay headed homes that are also raising children.

Okay, that was an angry tangent, fueled by the difficulties I see in the many families we know. Clearly Utah, while “we love thee” for many reasons, we still have our arguments :-). Take 5…


-L- said...
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-L- said...

If there's one thing that's really hard for me to wrap my mind around, it's distinguishing the church's teachings about certain topics and the conservative political dogma my parents had me immersed in growing up. After some thought a couple years ago, I've come to completely agree with your argument here for children of gay couples needing legal status with both. I can't really understand the opposition to that idea... except that it concedes the tiniest legitimacy to gays and that's against the party line. (A completely inadequate reason to endanger a child!!)

Scot said...

“I can't really understand the opposition to that idea... except that it concedes the tiniest legitimacy to gays and that's against the party line.”

That’s probably right.

It’s surprising what they’re willing to do to send a message on the “legitimacy” of same-sex headed homes, or gay citizen’s lives. I almost feel like advocating they put right in our constitution and on all state speed limit signs that the “gay lifestyle”, is, say, “irrefutably illegitimate, abominable and reprehensible”, in exchange for the equal rights and responsibilities to take care of our families in the same way as fellow taxpayers. We’d both get what we want, right? :-)

Today, we’ll be headed to our monthly get-together of GLBT parents, and I know I’ll come back sad about this again. Near all are wonderful (and grateful) parents, and there’s typically a new story about what state law has done to undermine them each time we meet.

I have to think, hope, that such legislators are acting merely trying to guess at their faith’s position.

Anyway, I was hoping to (and didn’t) keep away from politics until I got as much of my history on the table as possible. But oh will I ever get into it then :-).

-L- said...

Well, I'm sure there will be lots of great politics coming up. I look forward to it. I've been dragging my feet on the post I put up today for about 2 weeks. But, there it is. Thank you for all you do to educate me.