It’s no news that kids are a major factor in the fight for marriage equality. Ever since Justice Anthony Kennedy pointed out “the voices of these children” in the Prop. 8 hearing, there has been much more debate and discussion going on about the effects gay marriage on kids. In my obvious opinion, I think it’s a great idea to talk to kids about these issues. No, not everyone is going to agree with me (mostly those on the “right” end of the political spectrum), but there are many pro-gay people who are worried about how to bring it up to their children.
I want to preface this by saying that I do not have any experience in talking to my own children about gay marriage…but only because I don’t have children. However, older friends of mine have asked me about it and even sit down with their whole family to explain it. I’ve also talked to friends and family about being gay as a whole. It’s sometimes uncomfortable at the start, but almost always rewarding in the end.
What sparked the idea to even start writing this was lawyer and mother Devon Corneal’s piece about talking to her preschooler about gay marriage. It isn’t always a conversation that is planned – much like the sex talk or the talk about puberty (although those specifically should be planned before it’s too late). Sometimes, a line or action will open up the full conversation, just as it did for Corneal when her son said, “‘Victoria can’t marry Kyle mommy! Kyle is a girl. Girls have to marry boys and boys have to marry girls.'”
Like Corneal, it’s great to plan ahead and lay out what you want to say. When the time comes, and you’ll know, base your conversation on the planned and the unplanned – you can even surprise yourself with some of the more genuine points you come up with on a whim. For Corneal, she simply stated that it was okay for same-sex couples to love and marry each other (in kid talk) and then the day went on without a hitch.
Earlier this month, MSNBC’s Krystal Ball discussed gay marriage with her daughter, Ella, on a segment called Political Playground. She finds it crazy that, in some places, same-sex marriage isn’t allowed! She’s adorable and she’s right! (I really suggest watching the clip.) Ball was criticized by many right-wingers that she was exploiting her child to promote gay marriage. Albeit, it may have been scripted and coached and it may have been to promote gay marriage, but so what. It opens up the idea of starting a dialogue with your children.
To make things even easier, there’s a coloring book! Yes, a coloring book titled “Being Gay is Okay”! And look! It even comes with trading cards!
So whether you start with words or start with the book, a conversation about gay marriage with children is important. Opening them up to the concept and idea and teaching them to accept it will help them in the future when encountering those situations. After all, everybody needs a GBF (gay best friend) eventually!