Being liberal means, for one thing, that I support same gender marriages. When my daughter was four she asked me if girls can get married to each other. My husband and I had prepared for the big H issue to come up at some point because children will always ask questions. We had already decided that we would show our children how much we love them no matter what choices they made when they grew up. I promised I would never say that they are sinners if they turned out to be homosexual. I would be much more concerned if their relationships were ridden with strife or lacking mutual respect. Obadiah and I also agreed that we want our children to have an easy path in life and we have a selfish desire for grandchildren. So, we will let nature take its course in the development of their human sexuality, while we will nurture them carefully as valued persons independent of a sexual identity. Yet we happen to have a pretty traditional marriage and extended family as models for the children.
So when, at the age of four, my daughter asked “Can girls get married?” I took my time in responding. “You mean to each other?” I asked. “Yeah” she said. I responded, “Sometimes girls marry girls, but usually girls and boys marry each other. Why do you ask?” My daughter explained that she wanted to play house with her favorite dolls. She had two dolls that she wanted to be mommies and two that she wanted to be sisters. Oh. Of course. I am so glad I didn’t launch into a tirade on acceptance verses tolerance or judgey fundeys. I said, “When you play house, your dolls can do whatever you want them to. The little ones can even be the Mommies and the big ones can be the babies if you want.” I made her laugh as I acted out a little doll trying to carry around a big kicking and screaming ‘mommy.’
Children see the world through a very simple and ego-centric lens. They don’t need to know everything that we do about the world. Over time they figure out how the world works and I am there to answer questions and guide them to react appropriately. But I don’t want to give them more than they are ready to process. I just want to preserve their innocence for as long as possible.
Months later we ran into a couple of mothers at a community event. We caught up and fussed over each others’ children. To my daughter, the event was an ordinary social exchange. Her first introduction to a gay couple was a pleasant non-event. Over the years my daughter has asked many questions about gay marriage. I have tailored my responses to her developmental stage, but through every talk I have maintained a laid back and nonjudgmental tone. My children have some decisions to make that I will want to influence. I really want them to choose Jesus. But other decisions, like their judgements about homosexuality, I want them to make these decisions for themselves when they are mature enough and they have all the facts.