© Jen King, 2011. All Rights Reserved.
Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation
February 13, 2011

Standing on the Side of Love (sermon on the same day)

I'm not here today, to say "poor me" or "poor us." I'm just here to share with you a little bit of our reality as a reminder that, while many people take for granted that here in the bay area we've done away with LGBT prejudice, there is still work to do.

Melissa and I have lived in Fremont for 20 years now. Living here we don't have to fear for our lives or our well being. But our family and our relationship are more or less invisible and we face prejudice and ignorance on a daily basis.

Every year when our kids go into a new class we have to make an appointment with the teachers to go in and talk to them, to explain that Nathan or Armando or Raymond has two moms; that we're willing to answer questions from the teacher or other parents; and to ask the teacher to be aware of any teasing or bullying that might be going on.

Whenever we set up a playdate or invite children over for a birthday party or other event, we have to make sure to come out to the parents and make sure that they're OK with the situation so that we don't have people show up and freak out in front of the kids.

When we fill out school registration or forms for camps or doctors or whatever, we have to cross out father and put in parent or mother #2 or something.

We have to come out to doctors and dentists and therapists.

We have to deal with questions like "What nationality is your husband?", "Does your husband have red hair?", and "What is your relationship to this child?".

No one means anything malicious by these questions, but every time, we have to assess the situation and figure out the safest way to answer the question. Do I tell the truth? Do I just nod and smile? Do I lie? We also have to teach the boys how to handle questions about their parents from well-meaning but ignorant teachers, store clerks, or strangers at the park.

Another aspect where we face discrimination is in the financial/legal area of things. Melissa works for the federal government and while we are legally married in the state of California, the federal government doesn't recognize our marriage so while the boys can be on Melissa's insurance, I cannot, so we pay over $600 per month for my insurance since I don't work outside the home and instead stay home and take care of the family. I'm also not elegible for Melissa's pension or Social Security benefits.

Many people don't understand that we still face these discriminations. We still need to repeal The Defense of Marriage Act that was passed by the US Congress in 1996. The Defense of Marriage Act states that "no state (or other political subdivision within the United States) needs to treat as a marriage a same-sex relationship considered a marriage in another state; the federal government defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman."

So, what do I want you to take away from all of this? Basically that even here in the Bay Area, prejudice, misinformation, and ignorance are still part of our every day life on many different levels. Things are obviously much better than they were 20 years ago, but we still need to be working towards the day when all relationships and families are treated equally.

Back to Top