Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Do Children Feel Any Parents Are 'Normal'?

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Do Children Feel Any Parents Are 'Normal'?

Article excerpt

On Tuesday, two young men walked past our car, holding hands -- college students basking in a spirited conversation. Their enthusiasm was infectious, even watching from behind the wheel, especially as one of the young men removed his sweatshirt, as if hoping to advance a reluctant spring.

"Do you think Justice Roberts will vote for gay marriage?" my 9- year-old son asked as he watched the two teenagers pass by. He had been absorbing the recent news, or his parents' conversations, but the question itself exposed so much. There was no inquiry into why the boys were holding hands or what it means for boys to like boys. It wasn't just because we live in a progressive state, though that doesn't hurt. To a 9-year-old, the Supreme Court's hearing on gay marriage was like a sporting event, like choosing a winner in the NCAA basketball tournament.

The historic shift in acceptance of gay marriage is obviously a generational one, separating those under 40 from those above it. But what about those much, much younger?

What can't be changed by either the law or the high court is just how different the sense of "normal" is for today's children, who are coming of age in a world where the gay rights movement has focused on the most conventional institutions of all: marriage and family.

Much has been written about whether the experience of children being raised by gay parents is "normal." But do any children actually view any set of parents as normal? Almost universally, children are sometimes awed, often bored, and too often embarrassed by their parents. In their world, moms love moms, dads love dads, and moms and dads love each other; but we all seem a little off- kilter to them.

There can be little doubt that the Supreme Court arguments on gay marriage are important and their outcome will be historic. But, even as a lawyer and one who believes in this cause, I just couldn't muster the breathless anticipation that led to this week's hearings. …

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