You May Think This Election Is a Joke, but My Family Is in Real Danger

Amanda and her family

If you haven't been living under a rock, and by living under a rock I mean searching for Pokémon near some rocks, you've probably heard that Donald Trump has announced his running mate: Mike Pence, a man who is ultra-popular with religious conservatives. And, just before that, the Republican Party unveiled their new platform -- the most anti-LGBTQ platform in history. But what exactly does that mean? Well, allow me to put a face to an actual gay family and explain what the success of this ticket -- and platform -- would do to us, personally. 


Hi, I'm Amanda, I write for television and comic books. I live in Los Angeles with my wife, Cat. She's a comic book illustrator who is incredibly talented. (I'm very proud.) We are crazy about each other and even crazier about our daughter Vivienne, who will turn a year and a half in a few days. Vivi loves music, dance parties in the dining room, reading stories, throwing tea parties for her stuffed animals, and Sesame Street. I'm now worried you're judging us for allowing her limited screen time. See? We're a super normal family.

And for the first time in US history, we have all the rights that super normal families get to enjoy.

After dating for three years, Cat and I got married. Three years after that we had Vivi ... super traditional and boring. Possibly a bit like your own family; certainly like the textbook American dream family we're supposed to all aspire to -- right down to the big fluffy dog.

Vivi and her dog

Okay, now you've met my family. Time to see how the GOP wants to turn our American dream into an American nightmare.

First of all, Trump's VP of choice has a long history crusading against gay rights. A few fun facts from about Mike Pence:

In 2003, Pence, then representing the sixth congressional district of Indiana, co-sponsored an amendment that would have prohibited same-sex marriage. Four years later, he voted against the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, which aimed to prevent job discrimination based on sexual orientation. While in Congress, he opposed a bill aimed at more effectively prosecuting hate crimes based on sexual orientation and voted against the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. 

And about that GOP platform? First, they want to overturn the Supreme Court marriage decision and to appoint judges "who respect traditional family values."

Obviously, this would break our hearts. My wife and I traveled out of our home state of California to New York to get legally married before it was legal here. We cried when we had to also procure a domestic partnership in California. We cried again when Prop 8 was overturned. We cried a third time, with our daughter in our arms, when our marriage became legally recognized everywhere in our own country in 2015.

Amanda and Cat's wedding

Our marriage means so much to us on a personal and emotional level. It also gives us social credibility. But our feelings, and better tax benefits, as humans and American citizens aside -- legalized marriage impacts us the MOST as parents.

More from CafeMom: I've Never Been Afraid of Being a Gay Mom -- Now, I'm Terrified

Our daughter is our daughter. We planned for her together and she was conceived with love while Cat held my hand and looked into my eyes. Cat also held my hand through my labor, and watched our daughter take her first breath. Cat and I are both listed as her parents on Vivi's birth certificate. Again, pretty similar to a planned baby with hetero parents. 

But that birth certificate is not our only protection, because some states do not recognize same-sex birth certificates. This is where a federally recognized marriage license offers another, vital layer of protection. Particularly when we travel, which we do often. It means if we are, say, visiting my family in North Carolina, and something horrible happens to me, Cat can easily and legally make decisions for our daughter.

"Sure, but you could just use adoption. Right?"

reading to Vivi

First of all, it's heartbreaking for a mother to have to adopt her own baby -- a child who has been her daughter since before she was born. It's heartbreaking for a birth certificate and a loving relationship to be rendered meaningless. But even beyond that … this platform also targets gay adoption.

The platform asserts that children benefit most from homes with a "mother and a father" as the best way to prevent drug-addicted and otherwise "damaged" children. So, sorry, screw you, loving single moms, and single dads!

(Also, why are they calling my not-even-2-year-old child a future drug addict?!)

And then there is the horrific stance on gay conversion therapy. The Republican platform upholds "the right of parents to determine the proper treatment or therapy, for their minor children."

I don't want any child to go through that kind of hell. I never went to one of those awful camps, but I did come out in North Carolina. I will be happy one day to tell you the horrible things that were said to my actual face … over a LOT of wine.  I cannot imagine being a young child sent away to a conversion camp.

More from CafeMom: Sending Your Kids to 'Pray Away the Gay' Camps Is Literally Child Abuse

And speaking of North Carolina, where transgender people cannot even safely pee -- well, I haven't touched transgender issues when talking about my family, because my wife and I have cis privilege. Or how genuinely terrifying this entire party platform is for people of color and immigrants and every kind of woman.

So, if you are cool with the dismantling of my family, by all means, vote Trump. It's America. Stand by your beliefs.

But if you do care about LGBTQ Americans, if you care about my family and those like us: Please, please, please vote for the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. I know many people do care about LGBTQ rights, but want to vote for third party candidates, or to abstain, because they want to take a theoretical stance.

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I totally get that, but here is the thing: My family is not a theory. We exist and we can get hurt and you can stop it with your vote.

I fully support Hillary Clinton and the stance she has taken for my family and for many other families who are at risk. This doesn't mean I don't respect your support of Senator Sanders or of Jill Stein (although, at some point, let's talk about her vaccine stance, mmkay?) or whomever.

I even agree that more parties would be good for this country, but that is something that needs to be built. Fill your local school boards, city hall, state senate with Green representatives and that is how you build a real and viable party. A protest vote may feel great, and maybe even make you feel like you are making a point, but a brilliant friend of mine named Kyra Sims said it best: "Voting third party during this particular election is like demanding to put solar panels on the roof of a house that is LITERALLY ON FIRE."

Right now the GOP is holding a lit match to my family, and I am totally willing to roll up my sleeves and help you build a better America, but please first help me extinguish this dangerous flame and get Supreme Court judges in place who will help keep it that way. Your vote counts -- and my family, my child, is counting on it. 



Images via Amanda Deibert

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