Sunday, June 30, 2013
Today is Gay Pride in New York City. When I heard the Supreme Court rulings this week, I thought what a special parade it would be this year. I also thought of my friend, Caren.
In 2009, Caren had Ariella. Shortly after giving birth, she gave up her parental rights. Not by choice; she was forced to.
It was a legal workaround that allowed mothers who are gay to name their partners as parents to their children. Caren had to give up her rights as a parent, which allowed her partner, Mara, to adopt Ariella. Then, Caren adopted her own daughter too.
There was an allotted time that she needed to not be Ariella's mama, in order for this transaction to be considered legal. I don't remember how much time it was. Say three minutes.
What an excruciating three minutes.
When she told me this story, her voice was steely with bitterness and anger. She talked of how painful it was; how humiliated it made her feel. She talked about not having equal legal protection under the law. She talked about injustice and discrimination.
Her story brought tears to my eyes. I wasn't a parent then. Now that I am a mom, I feel heartbroken thinking about her story.
Caren had just given birth. At a time when she should have been bonding with her child, recovering from childbirth, contemplating the magnitude of the event that had just happened to her, facing the fear of being responsible for this fragile being and becoming a family with Mara and Ariella, she was not her child's mother.
Yes, for only three minutes. How those three minutes must have reverberated through her soul.
I can't imagine not being Claire's mama. I can't imagine George not being Claire's parent, even for a second.
I'm no lawyer. I don't know if the recent Supreme Court decisions change the way lesbian and gay parents get to legally call themselves families. I think it will be different now.
On this Gay Pride Day in NYC, I hope no other parent has to go through what Caren and Mara did. Everyone should have the right to decide who they love and to define who they call family.
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Photo Source: Torbakhopper, Flickr