Imagine being a kid. One of your parents is the primary caregiver for seven years, and then, all of a sudden, you're split. Your dad moves out of state, and you have to go with him. Heartbroken doesn't begin to describe how you'd feel, right? You might want to carry that feeling to the polls next time you're facing an amendment on same sex marriage.
Louisiana dad Dale Liuzza is gaining national attention right now because this is exactly what happened to him. His son, Seth, now lives in Washington State with Dale's ex, Chris, and he gets to see him a maximum of every two months. And Dale can't do a thing about it. There is no "rearranging custody" or "asserting legal parental rights."
Really think this is good for the child?
The gay dads conceived Seth with the help of a surrogate, using a donor egg and a combination of their sperm. At the time there was no reason to figure out which one was the biological father because they were a committed couple. Fast forward to the break-up of their relationship, and Chris went through genetic testing to determine he was the biological father. Because of Louisiana law that prohibits same sex marriage, that was all the proof he needed to take a child away from the parent who loved and cared for him for the formative years of his life.
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Got that? Being a good parent didn't matter. Wiping his hiney and singing lullabies, all that stuff that makes kids feel loved and cared for, went right out the window.
The story is being used as evidence in the fight for equality, as well it should. I'm outraged on Dale's behalf.
And yet, I can't help thinking the real focus should be re-directed. We don't need equality simply for adults. We need it for kids.
My heart is truly broken for Seth. He's a kid. A little boy. His whole life was ripped asunder, and because his dads just so happen to be gay, this won't play out like "regular" divorce. A straight primary caregiving parent would be able to stick up for their kid and, nine times out of 10, stay in their life and continue giving them the love and support that kids NEED.
Because in the end, that's what matters. The kid.
Relationships can crumble, but if you have a child together, you have to set aside your petty differences and do what is best for that child. And because so many parents have trouble with that, we have a court system and custody to help make that happen ... at least in "straight" families.
It wouldn't be in the best interest of a child born of a straight relationship to suddenly be torn from one parent, so why is it suddenly "OK" simply because the parents are both gay?
Is there ever a reason to take a child away from the parent who has been their primary caregiver for years? Is gay on your list?
Image via Guillaume Paumier/Flickr