The Short of It
Heather Barwick grew up with two moms, loves them and has spent time advocating gay rights, but now she has surprised many by speaking out against gay marriage.
In Barwick's essay for The Federalist, she explains that she was born to heterosexual parents who divorced when she was very young. After that, her mother raised her with a female partner. But she felt something was always missing from her upbringing. Children of divorced and adopted parents were allowed to voice their feelings of loss, she says, but because she had two moms, she never felt she could. She wrote:
"Same-sex marriage and parenting withholds either a mother or father from a child while telling him or her that it doesn't matter. That it's all the same. But it's not. A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting. My father's absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad. I loved my mom's partner, but another mom could never have replaced the father I lost.
"Gay marriage doesn't just redefine marriage, but also parenting. It promotes and normalizes a family structure that necessarily denies us something precious and foundational. It denies us something we need and long for, while at the same time tells us that we don't need what we naturally crave. That we will be okay. But we're not. We're hurting.
"Many of us are too scared to speak up and tell you about our hurt and pain, because for whatever reason it feels like you're not listening. That you don't want to hear. If we say we are hurting because we were raised by same-sex parents, we are either ignored or labeled a hater."
Barwick makes some interesting points, but critics say they're more personal than universal.
"There's nothing wrong with her sharing her experience—it's an important conversation, and one that we have, and should have, all the time," Gabriel Blau, executive director of the Family Equality Council, told Yahoo Parenting. "But denying a huge swath of American citizens our civil rights is not an answer."
Barwick's hurt seems to result from the loss of her heterosexual dad, not her homosexual parents' marriage, critics argue.
"We are all entitled to our personal narratives, but I strongly disagree with Heather's contrived attempt to offer her personal story as a case for blocking other families' access to marriage rights," Abigail Garner, an LGBT family-rights educator and author of the book "Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is," told Yahoo Parenting.
In fact, in 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics published findings from more than 30 years of data that found children of homosexual parents were just as socially, psychologically and sexually healthy as children of heterosexual parents were. Researchers said allowing gay parents to marry actually reduces their families' stress.
What do you think: Does Barwick make a case against gay marriage or should her essay be viewed as one person's experience only?
More from News Break
- Mom Gets Kudos for Bringing Her Baby to Work on National TV
- Kraft Recalls 6.5 Million Boxes of Mac & Cheese: What You Need to Know
- Parents Complain When School Disciplines Kids with Chores