So, my friend Chandra posted a video of a really cool wedding, where the wedding party danced up the aisle – clearly planned and choreographed. It was awesome. The kids loved it, and Alyssa said she wanted her wedding to be just like that. The wedding video showed a man and a woman getting married, so I was surprised when the video immediately inspired this conversation:
Alyssa: What if I want to marry a woman when I grow up? Will the churches be mean to me and not let me get married? How would I get married?
Anne: Well you can get married in our church –the Unitarian-Universalist church. We believe that all love relationships are sacred, regardless of gender. And there are other churches, too, like the Community United Church of Christ, that will marry people who are same gender.
Alyssa: But what about the other churches? You said before that some people are mean to people who love each other if they are both girls or both boys. Would those other churches be mean to us?
She looks so serious and worried. My heart breaks a little bit. I pull her into my lap.
Anne: I would like to think, that by the time you are ready to get married, the world will have grown and changed, so that you won’t have to worry about people being mean to you because of who you love. Already, we’re seeing more states making it legal for all people to marry, regardless of gender. I would like to think that in another 15-20 years, it will be a lot safer for you if you want to marry a woman.
Alyssa: What if it’s not? What if people are mean to us, and say mean things to us, and try to hurt us?
Oy-yoy-yoy-yoy-yoy. Wouldn’t it be nice if parents could have advanced notice of these conversations? Like, when you wake up in the morning, you have a note on your bedside table “Tonight, your seven year old daughter will want to have a conversation about her potential sexual preferences. Be prepared.”
Anne: Well, that’s something that you and the person you marry will have to talk about. Figuring out how you want to handle situations where people mistreat you because you love each other will need to be part of how you build your relationship.
In my head, I’m screaming “WHY?” Why should this ever need to be a part of *anyone’s* love relationship? Why should this be advice I have to give my children?”
Alyssa: But why will people be mean to us?
Anne: Oh, baby – I can’t speak for all of those people. I do know that many of the people I know who believe same-gender relationships are wrong believe that God thinks those relationships are wrong.
Alyssa: Is that true?
Anne: No, it’s not true. God loves you no matter what, just like your Dad and I love you no matter what.
Alyssa: God wants everyone to be happy and to love whoever they want. Do you believe that?
Anne: Yes. I believe that God IS love, and that two people in a committed loving relationship become the embodiment of that love on earth. And because they love each other, they share their love with others and make the world a better place. I believe this is true no matter what gender the people are who love each other.
Alyssa: I believe that, too.
She’s quiet, thinking. I’m watching her, and for whatever reason (I really don’t know why), I’m inspired to say – “You know, your Dad and I believe that you should marry who you love, no matter whether they are a man or a woman. Your Dad and I will never be mean to you because you want to marry a woman.”
She looks at me and says “Really?”
She snuggles up closer and puts her arms around my neck, her head on my shoulder.
Alyssa: Why won’t you?
Anne: Why won’t we be mean to you if you marry a woman?
Anne: Because we want what’s best for you, and the freedom to love who you wish is part of that.
Alyssa: Are other people’s parents mean to them if they find out that they want to marry someone the same as them?
This conversation is not getting any easier.
Anne: Sometimes they are. Sometimes the parents wish their kids would marry someone of a different gender because they think that would be “more right”, or that it would be safer and easier. Lots of parents know that some people can be mean to people who love people of the same gender, and they don’t want anyone to be mean to their children. And some parents are the people who think that God says same-gender relationships are wrong, so they think their children are doing something bad if they want to marry someone of the same gender.
She’s quiet for a minute, then she gives me one last squeeze around the neck and says “Will you read me some Zelda before bed?”
And that’s the end of the conversation. For now, anyway.