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The mother of the bride...

The mother of the bride...

Briadal_veil

Is not happy, and it has nothing to do with the wonderful man her daughter is marrying. On her special day, why should a loving daughter have to feel guilty that her lesbian mom can't get married?

My daughter Teresa is getting married.

There, I've said it out loud: "She's getting married." And of course, I'm not ready. Not ready to feel that old, not ready for grandmother status (let's pray that doesn't come soon), and certainly not ready to give up the small illusion of control over her that I pretend I have. I know many parents go through this when their children are preparing for this life-altering commitment, but of course I didn't think I'd feel it too (nope, not me, I know better). But the real problem with this impending wedding isn't my small and selfish worries; it is the concerns my daughter is struggling with.

She is planning to marry a great guy. The issues aren't with him, nor are they really about her. I have a daughter I couldn't be prouder of: She's creative, smart, talented, generally makes good choices, just finished her master's degree in public health, and works for a foundation that provides education and support for exploited children. She's committed to human rights and is interested in world affairs.

But on the threshold of her own marriage she is plagued by doubts that she shouldn't have to struggle with. She called the other day and in an unusually tentative and troubled voice said, "Mom, maybe we shouldn't get married because you and Heather can't. Maybe it's wrong for us to do this." As she spoke, I could feel the protective rage rise in my chest.

Now, there are some who say I should feel grateful and proud that my daughter stands in such solidarity with me and with our community. And I have always been proud of the way she stands against inequality among all types of people. But there's something about this conflict and how unsettling it is for her that doesn't simply bring on feelings of pride or gratitude.

While my daughter should be joyously planning her wedding day, I'm angry that she has even a minute of guilt over her desire to enter into the institution of marriage. It enrages me that she has to spend one second thinking that her decision to get married means she doesn't love me enough to deny herself what I am denied. I want this to be a happy time for her--any deep thoughts she may have should be about her marriage and her partner and their commitment to each other.

Certainly I am proud that Teresa is aware of the inequities in the law and that she is appalled by them. Her suggestion to boycott marriage is admirable, and she's certainly not alone. More and more of our friends are taking a pass on marriage on principle--they feel it's wrong to enter into an institution that we cannot.

But when it's your only kid, and when it's her marriage, it feels different. The goal is to ensure that same-sex couples who want to access the protections of marriage can have them, not for our well-intentioned allies and family members to exempt themselves from those very protections.

Discrimination affects entire societies and cultures. It affects not just those at whom the discrimination is directed but all those who must bear witness to what it does. It is clear that we as LGBT people aren't the only ones hurt by marriage discrimination. Our families are very much affected as well.

Antigay supporters of marriage discrimination often discuss their concerns for "protecting family" and for "traditional values." There is nothing moral, traditional, or faith-enhancing about causing families and children this kind of pain.

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