Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Child of Lesbian Moms Says Same-Sex Marriage Is Wrong

Child of Lesbian Moms Says Same-Sex Marriage Is Wrong

Same-sex marriage hurts children, says the daughter of two lesbian moms who is all grown up now.

In a guest column for the conservative website The Federalist, Heather Barwick tells the story of her mom first coming out and then being leaving her father when Barwick was a child.

“She left him when I was two or three because she wanted a chance to be happy with someone she really loved: a woman,” wrote Barwick. “My dad wasn’t a great guy, and after she left him he didn’t bother coming around anymore.”

Barwick says her mom’s partner “treated me as if I was her own daughter.” But she’s decided “the long-term consequences” of same-sex parenting hurt her. It’s unclear what those consequences are based on the column. Barwick is now married and a mother of four.

“Same-sex marriage and parenting withholds either a mother or father from a child while telling him or her that it doesn’t matter. That it’s all the same. But it’s not,” she wrote in her open letter, headlined “Dear Gay Community: Your Kids Are Hurting.” “A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting. My father’s absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad. I loved my mom’s partner, but another mom could never have replaced the father I lost.”

Barwick claims she isn’t alone and actually is speaking up for a silenced throng of children. “Many of us are too scared to speak up and tell you about our hurt and pain,” she wrote, “because for whatever reason it feels like you’re not listening.” Of course, a number of other children have publicly taken the exact opposite position, famously including Zach Wahls, whose testimony before the Iowa state legislature once went viral and has springboarded him as an activist voice.

All of this story is outlined as reason Barwick, who calls herself a “children’s rights activist,” says same-sex marriage should be illegal.

The Family Equality Council’s executive director, Gabriel Blau, dismissed that notion, telling The Advocate, “It is disingenuous to claim you are against our rights but pro-children.” In fact, Justice Anthony Kennedy, in ruling in favor of marriage equality advocates at the Supreme Court in 2013, named the children of same-sex parents as foremost in his mind. Kennedy argued the kids are being hurt by discriminatory laws that put their parents at a disadvantage (an argument also made in amicus filings by Family Equality Council).

The column is being passed around online quickly. And advocates for LGBT parents are pushing back against Barwick’s reasoning.

“You cannot claim to sympathize with the plight of LGBT people while relegating them to legal rights that are different from those of heterosexual people,” said Blau. “It is a non sequitur to claim you are pro-LGBT rights and then deny us the right to marry — a right that does not suddenly bring our families into existence, but rather protects the ones that are already there.”

“Our job as parents,” said Blau, a father himself, “is to love and protect our children, whether or not they love and protect us.”

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