Mallika Chopra: How Do I Explain to My Kids That the Government Deems Gay People’s Love Wrong?

The Mindful Mom Series with Mallika Chopra

UPDATE: 5/9/12 2pm President Obama clearly stated today the he supports gay marriage.  Good leadership (finally!) and needed to be done.

The fact that North Carolina’s passed a constitutional amendment  – by a large margin (looks like 61% to 39%) — to ban same sex marriage yesterday is shameful.  That the United States — the land of freedom and equality — can justify that certain people don’t deserve to be treated equally is unconscionable and disheartening.

And that President Obama has to posture his stance on gay marriage for political reasons makes me fuming mad and disappointed in his leadership.

As I read the news this evening, I’ve been thinking about how to talk to my daughters about the vote in North Carolina. (And, believe me, I feel strongly that at 10 and 7, it’s important to talk to them about it.)

My daughters live in a world where there is freedom to love.  They were ring bearers at my two dearest friends wedding — two women who have been through emotional, spiritual and legal loopholes to be together.  My children consider their children (another legal process for my friends) their younger cousins — brother and sister as per our family dynamic.

How do I tell my kids that our extended, healthy, loving family is not ok by someone else’s standard?  I go back to my daughters feelings several weeks ago (see my 9/11 blog)  when she realized that at one time in history she would not have been allowed to attend her current school, that she would have been excluded because of the color of her skin.

How is her 7-year-old mind supposed to grasp that it’s still ok to be excluded at times?  Like when you love someone.

We live in a world where religion is used to mask fear.  

via CNN:

Tami Fitzgerald, the head of Vote for Marriage NC, said she had been confident that “the people of North Carolina would rise up and vote to keep the opposition from redefining traditional marriage.

“We are not anti-gay, we are pro-marriage,” she said. “And the point — the whole point — is simply that you don’t rewrite the nature of God’s design for marriage based on the demands of a group of adults.”

Like institutionalized racism, sexism, and apartheid, we will one day look back and be appalled that we treated our own people with such disgrace.  God’s design will be honored for cherishing the values of love, integrity and treating others like we wish to be treated.

Until such time, as a parent, my intent is to guide my daughters by my own example — articulating and being honest about my disappointment and channeling my frustration into action for change.  How else can I nurture a strength in them to stand up to injustice?

How will you talk to your kids about North Carolina’s election results yesterday? Would love your thoughts…

 

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photo by: Jamison Wieser

About Mallika Chopra

Mallika is Tara and Leela's mom. She's written two books inspired by them - 100 Promises to My Baby and 100 Questions from Her Child. She started Intent to realize her personal intention to connect with others by sharing and listening to each others stories.

Comments

  1. Great article…my sentiments exactly…as the mother of a gay son and 2 young daughters, I find myself in a similar situation.

  2. Kids have full right to know the truth. Often, we hide things from kids thinking that these may not be the right things to discuss at this tender age. But the truth is kids will try to find from different sources & end up adopting a misconstrued view of the situation. Kids are the foundation of a health world. They need to know the situation the way it is.

  3. This amendment didn't change much, since there was already a law banning equal marriage on the books. The Baptist leader of the group behind the amendment said it was only to ensure that a "radical judge" could not change the law as it stood. As to the size of the vote margin, look at this way — here, in Durham, where I live, amid 3 universities (Duke UNC and NCCU) the vote was 70% against the amendment and only 30% for — in the next door county it was it was 70 for and 30 against, the opposite. As the angel of death moves among the older, conservative voters of the next door county votes will change. Take heart from the fact that the youthful population of Durham will persevere and grow, and eventually they will repeal the law.

  4. This amendment didn't change much, since there was already a law banning equal marriage on the books. The Baptist leader of the group behind the amendment said it was only to ensure that a "radical judge" could not change the law as it stood. As to the size of the vote margin, look at this way — here, in Durham, where I live, amid 3 universities (Duke UNC and NCCU) the vote was 70% against the amendment and only 30% for — in the next door county it was it was 70 for and 30 against, the opposite. As the angel of death moves among the older, conservative voters of the next door county votes will change. Take heart from the fact that the youthful population of Durham will persevere and grow, and eventually they will repeal the law.

  5. I think Obama must have read your post Mallika! Very well said and I especially agree with your decision to channel your frustration into action for change. That is how I guided my niece and nephew with my struggle to FREE Josh, Shane and Sarah. I provided them with opportunities for taking action – and they did!

  6. What a wonderful article Mallika! I commend that you are using your voice to shed light on this. You do not mince words when about your stance that Love is LOVE. I 100% agree, leading by example is the best way to inspire compassion. I tell the youngsters in my life that what people say or think about us — for any reason — doesn't define who we are: gay, straight, bi, black, white, men or women. I know that this too shall pass and everyone will be able to love freely one day.

  7. Thank you Mallika for this thoughtful article with the clear intent to start a dialogue based on love and understanding. My partner and I have a horse ranch in a rural Oregon. It is not a place where gay couples are common but we have found unbelievable love and support here. Most of our friends have young children, and we have been blessed to be accepted with open arms into these families. One mother handled the conversation with her 10 year old daughter in the following way: Her daughter has a best friend and they are truly inseparable. She asked her daughter “do you love Natalie?” Her daughter replied yes. Her mother then asked “what if your school told you that you are not allowed to love Natalie. Do you think that’s okay? Would you listen to them?” Her daughter replied “no, i wouldn’t listen to them. It’s none of their business” Her mother replied “so you should be able to love anybody you want, right? Just like Ron and Tony” The 10 year old then said “Yes, i can love anybody i want. Nobody can tell me i can’t” Out of the mouths of babes. Sending much love and thanks to you for speaking out. – Tony Muniz twitter: @tmuniz