If there's one thing I've noticed over the years, it's that people love to use the "it's for the children" argument whenever they feel like they're on shaky logical ground. I've seen it used in arguments against teaching evolution in schools and against gun control (/boggle), but nowhere have I seen it used more vociferously and alarmingly than in the fight against same-sex marriage.
"If the gays start getting married, how am I supposed to explain that to my children?! What do I say when two men or women walk down the street holding hands?! My children are going to be so confused by this behavior that there's a one hundred percent chance they'll turn gay! WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?!"
Unfortunately, what every single one of these shrieking harpies fails to realize is that they're not, in fact, thinking of the children when they start spewing their ignorance. They're thinking of themselves. They're thinking of their own inability to accept the fact that two people of the same sex might happen to love each other, but they have an inkling that if they say they can't accept it, they're going to be called bigots, so they mask their fear and stupidity with the strongest shield they can think of.
Well, I, for one, am tired of seeing children used to disguise bigotry. I'm tired of watching the "morally upright" teach generation after generation that it's okay to preach vitriol and obscenity as long as you include the phrase "for the children." Above all, I'm tired of all those people who don't have the courage to face what's in their own hearts and then work to change for the better, to be inclusive rather than exclusive.
That's why I wrote my letter to delegate Burns. That's why I go on interviews and do podcasts, and that's why I'm writing this book.
Because it IS about the children. It's just not about the children in the way some people think.
It's about homosexual parents having recourse to the same laws and access to the same benefits, the same protections, that every other heterosexual parent has access to so their children can have the same advantages and chances to succeed in life. It's about a child not having to worry about being bullied at school or on the street because she happens to be different. It's about a child being able to live in a stable home with parents who love each other and who just so happen to be the same sex, because every scientific study done shows no disadvantage or harm in being raised by gay parents.
It's about giving our children the tools to succeed in life-- tools like empathy and kindness. It's about creating a nurturing environment so our children can grow up to be whoever they want to be and not face any stigma for their choices. It's about understanding that there are countless children and they're not all going to be the same and that we should celebrate that diversity as they mature into adults.
It's also about the world our children are going to live in and the attitudes of the people in it. Will our children grow up with tolerance and respect, treating others the way they'd like to be treated? Or will they grow up with discrimination and hate, divided from those around them, subject to the same stupid cycle of anger and strife, the same racism and sexism we've overcome before? Will they live in peace? Or will they be subject to rage and pain, the violence of the mob ever present?
So please, think of the children, but with love, not fear.