I believe everyone has a right to be a family. For five years now my husband and I have struggled with infertility. We have tried lots of ways to bring a child into our lives. Along the way everyone has offered advice; from suggesting adoption agencies to foster care to fertility clinics. We have also been judged for our choices. “Why go abroad when you could adopt here”, “Why adopt when you can try IVF”; regardless of the comments the overall feeling was that everyone who knew of our struggle was rooting for us to become parents.
For some of my friends this is not the same support they receive. Although they have dated 10 years, own a lovely home and are both caring, kind people. Not everyone is routing for them to become a family; because they are two men.
When proposition 8 was up for a vote last year; I was asked to sign a petition opposing its passage. At the time I did not know what proposition 8 was so I researched online. There I found lots of arguments for why certain people should not become a family. Raised in a Christian home I have waffled on the question of same sex marriage. I was okay with civil unions, but marriage I felt was reserved for people like me.
Of course one argument that repeatedly came up in support of proposition 8 was the fact that gay couples cannot “naturally” produce children and there for should not be allowed to wed. Should gay couples marry, science books would have to be changed, argued one television ad. Teachers would be forced to pervert human reproduction. As one half of heterosexual couple unable to “naturally” produce, no one has yet suggested that my marriage is causing the breakdown of society. The mere suggestion that it could is deeply hurtful.
We can not pick our parents, or our siblings. But as adults we do create new families through our friends and spouses.
I believe everyone has the right to a family; from the child in foster care, to the child in a foreign country, to the embryo in the test tube. I believe any adult persons should be able to choose who they want to spend their life with and be given a legal recognition of their choice. When we begin to say who can and cannot be a family, we open a Pandora’s box of limitations on who deserves a basic fundamental of all life; the right to be with those who love us and those we choose to love. I believe everyone has a right to a family, no matter how it is created.