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On Parenting
Posted at 12:41 PM ET, 02/08/2012

Photos by Post photographers offer a reality check on the lives of gay parents

Amid the backdrop of two major national news events — the first, that a San Francisco federal appeals panel has deemed the state’s ban on gay marriage, Proposition 8, unconstitutional; the second, that Rick Santorum, a fierce opponent of gay marriage, is gaining traction in his bid for the GOP presidential nomination — two recent stories from this region are especially illuminating about gay rights.
Bob Sodervick demonstrates outside the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco. A three-judge panel of the court ruled that the voter-approved Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. (Justin Sullivan - GETTY IMAGES)

The Post’s Anita Kumar today wrote about the almost assured possibility that the Virginia legislature will this week pass a law that will restrict adoptions by gay parents.

“The General Assembly is considering a measure that would add a ‘conscience clause’’ to Virginia law that would allow state-funded, faith-based agencies to choose which parents are suitable for adoption based on the agencies’ beliefs.”

The story comes just a few days after another Post story, this one by education reporter Michael Alison Chandler, chronicled how District elementary schools are teaching their youngest students that gay families exist, and they function just like other families.

“The District, which legalized same-sex marriage in 2009, is joining San Francisco, Minneapolis and Cambridge, Mass., at the leading edge of an effort to make public schools more welcoming to gay students and families. A committee, organized in January 2011 with support from D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, developed a plan to increase awareness of gay issues and foster a more supportive environment in school. Twenty new school-based liaisons to the gay community are helping train teachers this year, and a contingent from the school system marched in the gay pride parade in June.”

What is fascinating about both these stories is not necessarily in the text. It’s in the images.

The writers and Post photographers Nikki Kahn and Sarah Voisin made the effort to show the details of family life in a family with two fathers and another with two mothers.

In so doing, these pieces go beyond the cultural deadlock we’re in over gay rights, gay marriage, gay adoption and gay acceptance. Juxtaposed against the rhetoric about gay life — whether in a legislature or a courtroom or in some of the hostile comments that followed Chandler’s story — the pictures offer a reality check.

In these homes meals are shared, temperatures checked, pets washed, coats fastened, video games played. Surely, these folks were on their best behavior with a photographer hanging around. (I would straighten up and get rid of the drying laundry, too.)

But there’s only so much bravado possible when kids are on the scene. Children tend to smash through whatever facades we parents might try to falsely project.

The kids pictured in these montages sure seem relaxed. They are either fantastic actors or they are proceeding as usual in their everyday life.

I’m guessing it’s the latter. If so, whatever is so scary, so offensive, that it needs to be outlawed and school children need to be protected from learning about it? Related Content:

Study: Teens raised by gay parents as happy as other teens

Gay parenting as, well, parenting

By  |  12:41 PM ET, 02/08/2012

Tags:  Gay Parenting, Education

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