I turned 39 today! Yup, that’s right. Today is my 39th birthday. Next year, I will be the big 4-0. A lot has happened in my almost forty years. I remember how in the fourth grade I was asked to draw a picture depicting something that would happen in the future. I drew a telephone with a TV screen so people could call and talk face to face. I’m pretty sure the telephone part was corded. We have that technology now, though no cords, and it fits in our pockets. It is funny how things have turned out. Most people, including myself would rather text or send an email instead of talking. Video chatting isn’t as exciting as my 10 year old self thought it would be. With a text, I don’t have to worry if my hair is combed or if my make-up looks okay. Texting is good with me. I like that change.
When I left for college, the internet was just beginning to come to some of the larger cities. Most households did not have personal computers yet. Within a couple of years, that would change. I welcomed this change. I felt like suddenly the whole world was opened up to me. If I wanted information about something, I could find more than just a small paragraph in an encyclopedia without having to wait for a book or an article to come through the inter-library loan system. I could suddenly contact my friends and family without having to pay anywhere from 10 to 25 cents per minute. (I tried to explain that to my teens. I’m still not sure they get it.) With the internet, people and information became much more accessible. I liked these changes, a lot. I think a lot of people did. It’s really nice to have a question and get a million answers in seconds.
But those have not been the only changes. As a child growing up, it was pretty obvious that the sexual revolution had already begun to take its toll. The poorer kids usually came from homes without a father. We just casually knew that if a kid was always in trouble in school it was because his parents were divorced or he never had a father to begin with. We didn’t talk about it. We just knew. We heard stories and even had assigned reading about latch key kids. Some of us, even happened to be those, but most of us had a mom there when we got home from school.
That has changed. With forty percent of children being born to single women, nearly half the kids don’t have a strong father figure. But you still know who those kids are.
The first time I voted, there was an old man standing outside the room asking people to sign a petition to stop what was probably a non-discrimination order that would include sexual orientation. My dad signed it right away. I read it through, and said no. My dad looked a little embarrassed. But I had gay friends. I thought they ought to be left alone to live their own lives. I didn’t know it wasn’t about being left alone to live their own lives. I did not know that the next phase of the sexual revolution was just beginning.
It was several years later that I gave such things more thought. I went to college, got married and had three kids pretty quickly. My days were spent worrying about small children problems and home organization. And then something happened. Gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts. At first, I was like, who cares? If two people of the same gender want to get married, what does that matter? But my husband didn’t have the same attitude. He was really worried about it. He signed up to receive emails from several pro-family sites. Every now and then he would get me to read something that was emailed too him.
At first, I could hardly believe what I was reading: kindergarteners being taught about homosexuality and a dad arrested for asking that his son be opted out? Fertility doctors sued for transferring lesbian patients to a different doctor? Really? I began paying attention. I realized that this wasn’t about gay people just wanting to quietly live their own lives and let everyone else quietly live their own lives. This was much, much bigger. Marriage laws affect many, many more laws. I realized that if the family is the fundamental unit of society, and it is, then marriage laws are foundational laws, and they are. I could not remain quiet and be content anymore. Because I had the internet, I easily got a lot of information from both sides. I began studying the issues and I knew where I stood.
And now, just 8 days before my 39th birthday, the issue of gay rights and gay marriage was basically decided. But the topic is not closed. Just like how the school kids in my day knew that the troubled kids were troubled because they did not have a dad, the kids of today and the kids of the future will know that the kids who live with their married mom and dad have an advantage. They will just naturally see and feel that a mother and a father are both important. They won’t need to talk about it, and it’s not very likely they will be allowed to talk about it. But for these kids, it will be pretty obvious that the next phase of the sexual revolution is taking its toll.