Emma and James were celebrities to the young Buster fans in the house. Emma joined the other kids putting their painted handprints on a big poster addressed to Spellings. Emma added this message for the secretary: "I love my 2 moms." Kids also colored in another poster for WETA.
Pieper said the producers had been looking for two-mom families and settled on hers after another option fell through. They liked how Emma and her siblings and moms interacted.
Emma, a huge fan of Arthur, put in three 14-hour days of hard work acting in the Buster show. "It was fun," she said. But when the show wasn't allowed to be broadcast because of her family, "it was disturbing."
She explained her understanding of the fuss: "They didn't want parents having stress about their kids learning about lesbian families."
What would Emma say to Spellings and the others?
"What if one of your kids turns out to be gay or lesbian? Then you'll know how it felt."
After the screening, straight parents said the way to discuss two-mommy or two-daddy families with children is precisely not to make it such a big hairy deal.
"We think as a family it's important to understand the world and all the people in it," said John G. Humphrey, who came from Alexandria with his wife, Luisa Tio, and daughters Ana, 4, and Mia, 2. "They have friends whose parents are gay or lesbian. . . . We discuss it just as we do any other type of family."
"I think unless you make it an issue, it's not an issue," said Jen Sherman, from the District, with Sam, 7, and Ella, 3. "It's like prejudice; people don't come out of the womb knowing about it." Leigh Anne Fraley drove down from Silver Spring with Bayden, 5, Isaiah, 3, and Ben, 4 months. She said it's harder to explain a divorced family to a child; the child might worry that her own parents could stop loving each other. But two moms? During the drive, she explained to her children they would be meeting a girl with two mothers. The kids seemed fine with that and they enjoyed the show.
Gay parents such as Mary Kate Cullen said it was vital to bring their children yesterday because nowhere else on children's television do they see families like theirs. Her son Conor, 2, has two moms. "It was only a half-hour but that was time enough to see other children who have two moms," Cullen said.
Jake Williams, 14, attending with his two mothers, Teresa Williams and Jo Deutsch, said people who wouldn't want to see a two-mom family on television have never spent time with one. "If they did," he said, "they would realize they're normal people with normal lives."
Last week it was announced that the "Buster" series has been nominated for two daytime television Emmys, for outstanding children's series and for outstanding writing in a children's series.