Another Mother’s Day in Limbo



August 4 of last year should have been the happiest day of our lives as a couple.

On August 4, 2010, a federal district court declared that Proposition 8, which barred gay and lesbian couples from marriage, was unconstitutional. The court ruled that Prop. 8 was discriminatory and that every day it stayed on the books was another day of “grave harm” to gay and lesbian couples and their families.

We say it should have been the happiest day of our lives, because now, over nine months later, that hateful law is still, effectively, on the books. Nine months later, we are still unequal in the eyes of the law.

This weekend, more than most, is a striking reminder of the harm done by Prop. 8. When the court ruled in August that California could not invalidate our marriage, we never imagined that our family would celebrate another Mother’s Day in limbo. But as long as our relationship is not afforded the same access to the same language and same protections as other Californians’, Mother’s Day will remind our sons that our family is still — in the eyes of the law — something less than other families.

That’s what Prop. 8 says — that we are “less than.” That day in August was supposed to be a win, but for our family, unable to take the next step, it still feels like we lost. Both of us receive cards from our sons every Mother's Day, but something as simple as picking one of them up from school can require outing ourselves anew to whomever is there, because there's no line on school forms for “domestic partners.” As far as the person behind that desk is concerned, we can't both be our sons’ mothers.

We joined our households in the fall of 2000 because we wanted to build a life — and a family — together. We raised our sons together.  But more than a decade later, we are still not a family in the eyes of the law.

More than anything, we want our four sons to grow up in a household with parents whose lifelong commitment to one another can be recognized. We don't want them to have to feel singled out by the fact that our relationship, a marriage in everything but name, nevertheless doesn't have a name. We want our relationship to be as straightforward as those of their friends' parents and as those of our straight friends. We don't want to have to worry about what will happen to our kids if something were to happen to one of us, about whether they'd be protected.