Thursday, May 10, 2012

Celebrating All Families on Mother's Day

As I wrote last year, On Mother's Day, I am one of the many for whom Mother's Day has often been painful. Thankfully, I have a loving mother. But for many years, Amp and I struggled to become parents, making Mother's Day a painful reminder of what we were missing out on. Attending church, where my emotions tend to be very close to the surface, was especially difficult.  And the time I visited a Southern Baptist church with my in-laws on Mother's Day was just plain ugly as I made my way through a box of tissues while the sacrifices of motherhood were heralded in song and sermon.

This year on Mother's Day I'll be thinking especially about the many families that the recent passage  of amendment one* implies that the State of North Carolina, or at least 61% of it's voting population, doesn't value. The extreme right would have you think that the amendment was about the sanctity of marriage, but it was also about getting their extreme base out to the polls, and defense of an imagined assault on their values. The cost of this political ploy and fear is great and not yet fully known. But make no mistake, while it hurts families with two mothers, or two fathers, it is also hurtful to the families with a single parent (gay or straight) and child(ren). 

And let's be real, the people it will most hurt, are children--gay youth as they are told by their government that they are not worthy of civil rights, children of gay couples who are told that their family is not valid or worthy of protection, and who, along with the children of single parent families, will have their access to insurance threatened. For more about the consequences of amendment one see my sentiments on Good Neighbors.

It is especially painful to me as a Christian that this attack on families is being conducted under the purported auspices of Christianity. This is a human rights issue, and I, as a representative of Christ's love, have a moral imperative to speak out.

Not all families are of the cookie cutter variety, and thank goodness for that, as diversity only makes us richer as a society. For a good book on the subject, my kindergartner recommends The Family Book by Todd Parr. It's a beautiful book, packed with love and vivid illustrations.

So this year on Mother's Day, celebrate your mother and your motherhood, but please also reach out to those whose families don't fit the extreme right's one man + one woman equation. Please let them know that you value ALL families. And please reach out to LGBTQ youth who may be feeling especially vulnerable at this time.

*As an act of literary protest, I have decided that amendment one is not worthy of capitalization.