A Parent is a Parent
The shuffling of feet through the kitchen acts as an alarm, and the smell of waffles shakes away the grogginess. PB & J’s are thrown into Ziplocks, pencil pouches are stuffed into backpacks, and scattered math worksheets are collected and crammed into tearing paper folders. One kid can’t find their other shoe, another’s begging mom to braid their hair before the bus arrives, and the dog just tracked mud through the back hall. What I have described to you is a cliche young family’s morning. It’s nothing groundbreaking or unusual, and it occurs in millions of homes every day since the beginning of time. So what would change if the family was headed by two dads? Sure maybe the braiding might take a little longer, or the waffles might be a little burnt, but the bottom line is the same; two families, two parents, a couple typical parental struggles, and a whole lot of love. After all, gay parents share the same motives as traditional ones; to raise happy, healthy children in the right environment. They are a stable two-parent home for over 200,000 children in America and have been around for decades. The only thing abnormal about these families is the prejudice that surfaces from the parent’s sexuality. It’s normal for these families everyday, it’s society’s turn to become tolerant.
In a traditional home, the notion of raising children is given no second thought and is deemed as rightfully part of society’s social clock. In fact, for newlyweds to not consider a family is viewed to some as almost obscure. Yet when LGBT couples wish to begin a family, they face not only intolerant opposition, but laws systematically in the way of allowing them to thrive.
All of a sudden the decision of parenthood becomes a whole nation’s business. This was seemingly an outcome of 2015’s Obergefell v Hodges case as it ruled the legalization of gay marriage in all fifty states. After finally and rightfully receiving the right of marriage, the LGBT community now turned to seeking parenthood. Although there have been children in LGBT homes for decades if not centuries, the headway from the case sparked a new wave of opposition. The argument was presented that these homes were unhealthy for children. However, Anthony Kennedy (senior Associate Supreme Justice on the Obergefell v Hodges case) believes just the opposite stating “marriage is essential to parenthood and child rearing, an even greater factor than that of the sexual orientation of the parents” (Khimm). In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were, not only figuratively, but in a legal sense. People could hold as much opposition as they wish, but the case had dissolved a major barrier to couples previously pursuing parenthood; they could now undergo standard two parent adoption.
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A two parent home has been ruled the greatness influence on a childhood, and the recent ruling has paved the way for this opportunity to be present for many waiting in adoption. Single parent adoption was possible before the case, however it raised problems in the event of illness of a partner, death, or separation given that only one parent would be legally recognized. Fifteen states along with DC tried to combat this by giving individuals the opportunity to petition for “second parent” adoption. Despite this reform, the system presented its own flaws involving lawyers, criminal background checks and a lengthy home study- all very invasive to new mother and father’s (Khimm). The problems of the single parent approach furthered as guardians would attempt to access health care for their children, often an argument of those who oppress LGBT parenting claiming improper medical care was endangering- this, however, is a common misconception given that the difficulty does not arise from the negligence of the parents, but rather prejudice/intolerance of the health care providers. Homophobia, which is the fear and dislike of lesbian and gay people, and transphobia, which is the fear and dislike of transgender people, have been shown to be major barriers to receiving and providing quality healthcare to these parents (Chapman et. al).
The conflict furthers as one parent is often left feeling more ignored than the other, while both want to be active in the status of their child’s health. One could counter this by attributing doctor’s hesitation to little known knowledge about LGBT families, however, this does not excuse purely intolerant behavior. That is not in the job description. The sexuality of a person does not excuse their right to be respected. According to Rose Chapman’s (RN, PhD, MSc, Professor of Emergency Nursing,) study of LGBT parents accessing healthcare found the most positive experiences were directly correlated with the attitude of the provider, specifically by not passing judgement or making assumptions, and simply focusing on the reason for seeking health care, rather than the fact of their sexuality. Along with this, healthcare professionals who acknowledged both parents generated positive responses. As any traditional parent would, LGBT parents wish to be treated as equals when concerned for their child’s health. As new research emerges everyday, and these families become more apparent, there is no longer an excuse for negligence. With a two-parent home, children of LGBT families will not only grow up in a better environment than in adoption, but also have better access to receiving medical treatment when needed. Through Obergefell v Hodges case we have created the two-parent home that is so influential, now we must enact tolerance to allow them to transition into normality. The most important factor overcame prejudice in the law, now the barrier has become prejudice in society.