Marriage Equality is Now About Me
By Kelly Rummelhart
For years I have been an ally to the gay community. I can’t really even put a date on it but I remember always thinking that gay men and women should have the same rights as everyone else. I remember not understanding, back in 2000, why people would vote yes for Prop 22. Even back then, the year I was able to get legally married in the state of California, I remember thinking how could voters single out one group for discrimination? It made no sense to me.
Years later it would be Prop 8 and I then had to explain to my three children why some people, including several family friends, could not get legally married simply because who they loved just happened to be the same gender. It still didn’t make sense and it certainly didn’t make sense to my children.
You see, my children have been raised since Day One with the knowledge that everyone is equal. I made it one of my missions as a parent to educate my children on the fact that we are all different, but that is what makes us great. We are a world full of different religions, cultures, races, sexual orientations, genders, abilities, etc. but that we are all capable of love and respect and should be celebrated. The fact that my young children don’t understand why some of their friends’ parents can’t get married because they are both men or both women, is proof that I succeeded.
When I took my first NOH8 picture back in 2010, while I was a gestational surrogate for a set of twins for two men, I was protesting a few things. Mainly, the fact that the fathers of the babies I was carrying, who loved each other greatly, who decided to create a family, couldn’t get legally married if they wanted . . . and that is a problem.
In the summer of 2012, NOH8 was in Sacramento and I had just given birth to my final surrogate baby weeks early (for another gay couple), so I took my children with me to pose. Even though I wasn’t OUT to them yet, we were protesting the fact that their friends’ parents STILL couldn’t get married (unbeknownst to them, their own mom wouldn’t be able to either). A few friends of mine, gay and straight, posed with their children too and when the pictures were ready, we posted them on Facebook and got a lot of positive feedback. However, I also heard from one person that they (and others apparently) thought I was using my children for my own political agenda. I laughed knowing that if they asked my kids, “Do you want Katie and Brandon’s mom to be able to marry her girlfriend? Do you want George and Sanj’s marriage to be honored here? Do you want Caitlyn and Wilma’s marriage to be “real”?” They would answer yes, because they do. They want those things for their friends and family members and I bet, in the future, they would want that for themselves too, if they ended up not being straight.
It’s such a simple concept to teach to a child and they get it; how do adults not? That’s the funny thing about inequality, unless it’s your rights being violated, it’s easy not to care. I think to myself, years from now, when the LGBT community can get married everywhere, will those who fought so furiously to stop it, see themselves like the racists of the past that fought interracial marriage? Will it be their photo in a textbook holding up their Hateful sign that children will scoff at and not even be able to imagine a time when that type of inequality was possible?
Sometimes I wonder if I have fought so hard for years for the LGBT community because deep down I knew I was apart of it? At the same time I am a bit saddened thinking that maybe I wasn’t an awesome ally for the same reason . . . but then I think, regardless, even before I figured out my own sexuality, that I have always thought people should be able to marry whom they love, regardless of gender, sexuality, race, etc.
And so here we are in March, with a big decision about to be handed down. And I hope with all my heart, that the few adults that make up the Supreme Court will understand what my three young children have had no problem accepting . . . that all people should be created equal, including their mother.