My Two Dads
BY Dan Avery
June 04 2008 12:00 AM ET
Her position seems almost entirely based on her Christian values -- that homosexuality is a sin and children shouldn’t be exposed to it. How to you reason with that kind of tightly held, knee-jerk belief?Dennis: Look, she comes from such a sheltered environment. I wanted her to understand the options are not Leave It to Beaver versus gay dads. One of the most powerful parts of the episode, which was actually my idea, was when Kati talked to the kids who aged out of the system. They would’ve loved to be taken in by a gay couple.
Kati also argued that children of gay couples aren’t exposed to both sexes. Do you work to make sure the boys have female role models in their lives?Dennis: It's important for the kids to have adult women in their lives who love them. My mom, aunts, teachers, female friends.
Thomas: Hey, the more good people around our kids the better.
Did you feel bad for Kati?Dennis: Sometimes. It was hard for her, leaving everything behind to live among people whose core values seemed to be completely different from her own. But then I’d think how she brought it on herself. She would just be so obstinate. Josh's family said they were grateful we adopted him, but Kati just could not -- or would not -- understand that.
Thomas: She acted like she wasn’t prejudiced. But even if the words come out monitored or un-angry, they're still offensive. She didn’t understand the intent behind some of the things she was saying.
Dennis: I think Kati was truly hurt when I told her I couldn't be her friend. But she told us she was going back to California to work against gay marriage. Ultimately, it's not a “live and let live” or “agree to disagree” situation. We’re not passing judgment on how she lives her life, but her views and actions threaten the existence our family. Michigan just had a marriage amendment updated by the courts that eradicated domestic-partner health care benefits for state employees. Now Tom's not covered by my health insurance.
Did your time with her teach you anything?Dennis: The biggest thing I learned is that I was naive. Being exposed to our family is not enough. Kati was so rooted in her religion, and there’s no arguing faith.
Thomas: I'm learning that so many people are afraid to challenge themselves. They’re happy to look to others for direction. I’m a high school teacher and the kids just believe everything they’re told. I guess it confirmed my feeling that we need to challenge our beliefs. Allow others to do what they think is right. If you can’t live your own life for yourself -- if you have to force your will on others -- I really wonder how strong your values are.