I did a little celebration dance when I heard that New York had passed their gay marriage bill. Finally! And I hope it sticks.
It was just about two years ago (no, it's been three!) that I found out my son was gay. The Prop 8 fight was going strong in California but I was only peripherally aware of it. I was grappling with the fact that I had finally heard from my son's own mouth that he was gay. No more speculation or denial on my part. It was fact and I was simply left with the overwhelming question, "what now?!"
I knew there had to be other parents in this same situation. Statistically there had to be hundreds just in my end of the valley. But where were they? I needed some insight, some clarity. And, yes, maybe some empathy that only another mom could give. I Googled different combinations of "gay" "mormon" and "mom". I read and searched and finally came up with a website which led to a Yahoo! group, Family Fellowship, a group for gay Mormons and their families. Finally! I joined the group and jumped head first into a swirling pool of diatribe against the church and Prop 8. This was NOT what I was looking for! I needed someone to reassure me that there was a way to stay a good Mormon and have gay child. After all, marriage was for one man and one woman. It said so in the Proclamation on the Family that hung on my wall! Gay marriage had to be evil to go against what the church taught! I needed to find something to bridge that gap between the church and...everything else. There had to be some perspective I just wasn't seeing and I was desperate to find it. I was a fifth generation Mormon. It was my very identity.
I sent out a plea to the group and was messaged back by a woman from the other side of the country. She listened with love and understanding while I unloaded and then she shared her story with me. She continued to check in with me occasionally to see how things were going. When she flew out for an Affirmation conference she invited me to meet her and her husband at an evening fireside of sorts. I don't know that I would have had the courage to go otherwise.
The evening consisted of parents paying tribute to their gay and lesbian children. One by one each parent got up and lovingly described their child's life and accomplishments. Successful business owners, activists, gay fathers of adopted children, dancers, athletes. The program went on for 2 1/2 hours and I sat mesmerized as I drank in every word. They all looked so NORMAL! So happy. Parents and children alike. A few of the parents were in their 70's and 80's and their "children" were my age and older. They had come out as gay 30 and 40 years ago! I can only imagine how much harder it must have been then. I was touched. I was awed. And I did notice that many were no longer in the church.
I continued to read and I attended some Family Fellowship gatherings. What incredible people. They reached out with more love and understanding than anything I've ever felt from the church. And now here I am two years later without a doubt in my mind that gay marriage is a GOOD thing. The right thing. To give everyone the same right that you have doesn't weaken our society as the church claims. It builds it up, makes it stronger. I'm sure of that now.