Families should be allowed to come in all forms. I have one of the greatest family dynamics there is right now. I came out as gay two years ago, and I was married to a woman for 17 years and have a son who is 12. We have a great relationship as a family, which has developed in its own unique way. The love we have for each other can only be shown through a statement that my ex-wife made to me:
“I try to avoid discussing political issues, since I believe each person is entitled to their own opinions, even those with which I disagree. In this instance, though, I would like to share that I am very happy I live in a country that rules that two people who truly love each other should have the right to marry.
“For those of you who know my story, I married a wonderful man who is a great father to our son. He is also gay. He finally had the courage to tell me nearly two years ago. Since then, others have spoken out about this decision as well as my choice to keep him as part of my family.
“Even when the day comes when one or both of us find someone else to love, he will still be my son’s father and a good friend. It is not up to me or anyone else to decide who he should fall in love with and marry, even if that means another change in how others define my ‘family.’
“I sincerely hope that he finds true love again, and I have the same hope for myself. It would be unfair to say to him or any other gay individual that it’s ok for me to remarry, but that they cannot. This monumental court decision reinforces that belief, and for that I am so glad.
“Love is love, family is family, even if you don’t understand it or agree with the direction it takes. I pray for love and family, for myself and everyone else out there.”
I am using this to show that we can be a family in our own way. Now, we had gone through the foster care system a few years back because we wanted to add to our family and help in whatever way that we could. Had we chosen to adopt at that time, we would have had little to no worry about this.
But now I look at it differently. If one or both of us chooses to foster then adopt a child under the new law — a Religious Freedom Restoration Act-style measure — that allows adoption agencies contracted by Michigan to deny service to prospective parents on religious grounds.
I, as a gay man who may one day enter into a relationship and marry another gay man, may not be able to adopt a child, if we choose to do so. On top of this, my ex-wife as a single mother, if she chooses to adopt, may not be able to do so.
If you say I can just go to a nonreligious state funded group, I say the point of the law should be a separation of church and state to begin with. What if my religious beliefs were that of the religious adoption agency? Just because I am gay I still cannot adopt through them. What if the person handling the adoption through the non religious organization doesn’t agree with my lifestyle? I won’t be able to adopt through them.
If the state is going to fund an adoption agency of any kind, then anyone within that state should have the right to adopt through that adoption agency.
How do we deny the fact that someone can show a child love no matter what their marital status, their sexual orientation or their gender identity? How do we deny someone with the means to take care of a child, who passes any and all background checks, who has no other issues, the rights that are afforded to others statewide?
Families should be made up of love and care and understanding and not have the worries of religion to build them. As it says in the poem widely known as The Adoption Creed, by Fleur Conkling Heyliger: “Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone, But still miraculously my own.”
There needs to be change. We need to contact our elected officials and raise our voices and be heard.