We’ve laughed off Donald Trump’s shenanigans for long enough. If he and Mike Pence win, families headed by gay parents are under serious threat.
We’ve enjoyed the spectacle of Donald Trump making a fool of the Republican Party. Some of us even hoped Mein Trumpf was a closet moderate trolling the GOP. Alas, he’s removed all doubt by picking Mike Pence, the failed, ultra-right governor of Indiana. Donald Trump has been noncommittal on LGBT issues, but not Mike Pence. While in Congress, he co-sponsored a bill for a ban on same-sex marriage in 2003. Oh, and the GOP has just released the most anti-LGBT platform ever.
Now, women, Muslims, Jews and people of color can add another group to the list of people who should feel scared shitless: Gay parents. Without legal same-sex marriage — as we now have in all 50 states — families with gay parents are screwed.
The GOP’s platform vows to make gay marriage illegal again.
Meet Amanda Deibert. In her deeply moving post on The Stir, she explains what the 2014 Supreme Court decision means for gay parents (like her and her wife, Cat).
We are crazy about each other and even crazier about our daughter Vivienne, who will turn a year and a half in a few days. Vivi loves music, dance parties in the dining room, reading stories, throwing tea parties for her stuffed animals, and Sesame Street. I’m now worried you’re judging us for allowing her limited screen time. See? We’re a super normal family.
And for the first time in US history, we have all the rights that super normal families get to enjoy.
Alas, what SCOTUS giveth, the GOP can taketh away. Especially if they control all three branches of government.
Obviously, this would break our hearts. My wife and I traveled out of our home state of California to New York to get legally married before it was legal here. We cried when we had to also procure a domestic partnership in California. We cried again when Prop 8 was overturned. We cried a third time, with our daughter in our arms, when our marriage became legally recognized everywhere in our own country in 2015.
But, even worse, gay parents would lose their right to function as a family unit. For starters, they’d lose things heterosexual couples take for granted. This includes tax benefits, being on each other’s health plans, the right to make decisions for each other and their children in emergencies, and other legal protections.
Our marriage means so much to us on a personal and emotional level. It also gives us social credibility. But our feelings, and better tax benefits, as humans and American citizens aside — legalized marriage impacts us the MOST as parents.
Heterosexual couples take their legal rights as parents for granted. Without legal same-sex marriage, gay parents can do no such thing. For example, both Amanda’s and Cat’s names are on Vivienne’s birth certificate. Yet some states would only recognize Amanda’s rights as a parent because she’s the birth mother.
But that birth certificate is not our only protection, because some states do not recognize same-sex birth certificates. This is where a federally recognized marriage license offers another, vital layer of protection. Particularly when we travel, which we do often. It means if we are, say, visiting my family in North Carolina, and something horrible happens to me, Cat can easily and legally make decisions for our daughter.
The GOP’s platform also does not recognize gay adoptions, which means both gay parents are screwed. In Texas, two gay dads had to fight for the right to parent their twin sons, even though each was the biological father of one twin through a surrogate mother. Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs finally won the right to co-adopt each other’s biological sons. But only the repeal of Texas’ gay marriage ban allows their family to live in peace.
So much for “family values.”
The GOP has long claimed to be the party of “family values.” But for gay parents, a Republican victory would tear their families apart. That’s why Amanda Deibert asks LGBT people and their allies to please vote Democratic, even though many of us dislike Hillary Clinton.
But if you do care about LGBTQ Americans, if you care about my family and those like us: Please, please, please vote for the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. I know many people do care about LGBTQ rights, but want to vote for third party candidates, or to abstain, because they want to take a theoretical stance.
I totally get that, but here is the thing: My family is not a theory. We exist and we can get hurt and you can stop it with your vote.
As repellent as Hillary Clinton is to so many of us, this is no time for supporting independent or third party candidates. As a friend of Amanda’s points out, installing solar panels makes no sense when your house is on fire.
Right now the GOP is holding a lit match to my family, and I am totally willing to roll up my sleeves and help you build a better America, but please first help me extinguish this dangerous flame and get Supreme Court judges in place who will help keep it that way. Your vote counts — and my family, my child, is counting on it.
Watch: Children with gay parents speak out.