Friday, July 28, 2006

Real kids are getting hurt: Once again a state court turns its back on the children of lesbians & gays

By Diane Silver

This week's opinion by the Washington state Supreme Court upholding a ban on same-sex marriage doesn't defend anything, but it certainly hurts thousands of children.

I am saddened that this simple fact keeps getting lost in the news coverage about gay marriage.

Here's the point: Many lesbian and gay couples are raising children together. Every one of those children needs the legal and financial benefits that come from having married parents.

Any parent -- whether heterosexual or lesbian or gay -- should be able to understand this and to understand why these kids need families that are legally bound together.

The Human Rights Campaign reports:
According to conservative estimates from the 2000 census, there are more than 1 million children being raised by same-sex couples in the United States. Without the ability to establish a legal relationship to both parents, children of same-sex couples are left without important protections, such as Social Security survivor benefits.
Every opinion that puts marriage farther away from same-sex couples puts the legal and financial benefits of marriage farther away from these children. Every opinion that allegedly "protects" marriage punishes these kids for having the poor taste to "chose" the wrong parents.

How many ways can children be hurt?

Consider this: What happens to a girl whose birth mother dies in a car accident?

The mother's life partner -- the child's co-parent -- may be the only other parent that child has ever known. The child has a loving bond with that parent, but no legal ties because of our backward marriage laws.

The girl has already been devastated by the death of her mother. Do we compound that tragedy by taking away her other parent, so that she is orphaned?

The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports:
Justice (Mary) Fairhust said the plurality and concurring opinions "... condone blatant discrimination against Washington's gay and lesbian citizens in the name of encouraging procreation, marriage for individuals in relationships that result in children, and the raising of children in homes headed by opposite-sex parents, while ignoring the fact that denying same-sex couples the right to marry has no prospect of furthering any of those interests."
That is all true, and it is all outrageous. However, this rationale isn't even close to the real reason why the ban on same-sex marriage is destructive to our country.

When will the courts and lawmakers realize that ALL children deserve to have secure families and that none should be relegated to second-class citizenship?

Coverage of the Marriage Issue & Washington Decision

Decision Could Impact Political Campaign

A Tenuous Legal Decision

Order in the court? Hardly

Banning Same-Sex Marriage Diminishes All Our Freedoms

State Justice Talk about Their Roles in Gay Marriage Ruling

Maryland Supreme Court to take on gay marriage

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