Family Matters

How the Gay-Marriage Victories Are (Slowly) Transforming the Notion of Family

Newly passed laws allowing gay marriage mean more children will have a broader view of what it means to be a family

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Rob Melnychuk / Digital Vision / Getty Images

On Wednesday, Colleen Ozolitis, and her wife, Lee Ann Martinson, drove together to their son’s Seattle preschool to share their family’s good news.

“We’re going to tell him we won and that all this work we’ve done means that in Washington, his moms can get married,” says Ozolitis, who served as the statewide volunteer coordinator for Washington United for Marriage, which led this state’s effort to get same-sex marriage approved. “I think he’ll understand.”

(MORE: New Study: Gay Parents = Great Kids)

With Maine and Maryland becoming the first states to approve gay marriage by popular vote on Tuesday and Washington poised to join them — as of Wednesday night, campaigners had declared victory though officials had yet to certify the vote — the nuclear-family stereotype of mom and dad and their brood may soon be outdated.

The victory in those three states mean nine states and the District of Columbia now allow same sex couples to legally wed; a sign, those couples hope, that attitudes toward what constitutes a family are evolving. Since 1998, initiatives to recognize gay marriage had failed in 32 states. But increasingly, there’s a sense that there isn’t one right way to go about living and loving.

(MORE: My Two Moms‘ Zach Wahls: Teen Advocate for Gay Marriage Goes from YouTube Sensation to Author)

Callum Martinson, who is 5, has never seemed to mind being the only kid in his class with gay parents. “We’ve always taught our son that there are lots of different ways to make families,” says Ozolitis. “One mom, two moms, one dad, two dads, one mom and one dad…families can look different ways and have different-colored skin.”

When Callum would spot signs supporting the gay-marriage campaign around town, he’d say, “Look, Mom, those people understand.” Says Ozolitis: “This victory means more and more people do understand that this is about love and family. The polls show that this is definitely the direction we’re heading.”

On Nov. 1, five days before the election, President Obama underscored that sentiment. He wrote a letter to 10-year-old Sophia Bailey Klugh, who’d sent him a handwritten note of appreciation for his support of gay marriage. Sophia told the President:

I am so glad that you agree two men can love each other because I have two dads and they love each other, but at school kids think that it’s gross and weird, but it really hurts my heart and feelings.

He responded:

In America, no two families look the same. We celebrate this diversity. And we recognize that whether you have two dads or one mom what matters above all is the love we show one another.

As gay marriage becomes more institutionalized, the concept is bound to raise fewer eyebrows. “These families have a new visibility,” says Dr. Nanette Gartrell, a visiting scholar at the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. It wasn’t like that 26 years ago when Gartrell launched what is now the longest-running study of lesbian families.

(MORENew Volleys in the Gay Parenting Wars)

“At that time in 1986 there was much more discrimination,” she says. “We wanted to inform people in a scientific and rigorous way about this particular kind of family experience and how the kids do.” Last week, she released her latest report, which tracks the teenage children of lesbian mothers and asks them to assess their upbringing in their own words. The research, published in the Journal of Homosexuality, found that the teens had grades averaging between A to B+ and most planned to attend college. When asked “has your mother been a good role model?” 93% said yes. “That is a really phenomenal rate of admiration,” says Gartrell.

In Washington, where I live, the gay-marriage law is expected to go into effect Dec. 6, effectively making the terms “husband” and “wife” gender-neutral. Those revamped definitions will take a little getting used to, but as I tell my kids, if we all looked/acted/dressed the same, life would be pretty boring.

On Election Day, my daughter came home from school and told me with a 5-year-old’s incredulousness what she’d learned in school: once upon a time, women and black people couldn’t vote.

In the future, kids may be just as surprised to learn that once upon a time, government regulated who could marry and live happily ever after.


Having read this I believed it was extremely enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

Life Insurance Calgary


According to the Center for Disease Control, at least one in five gay men is infected with AIDS and gay men account for 78% of all AIDS cases. Seventy two percent of all new AIDS cases are among young men aged 13 - 24. I wonder where the 13 year-olds are getting AIDS since propaganda tells us that gays don't like to have sex with children. I also question how Dr. Ben Siegel of the AAP can advocate putting a young child in a home with two gay men where there is a doubled chance of being infected with the AIDS virus if only by accidentally using one of his dads toothbrushes.


Historically, the purpose of marriage was for property transferal purposes. Had nothing to do with being able to breed or not.

Second, marriage today has pretty much lost its meaning among heterosexuals. Few straights marry anymore, since they think breeding is the only real purpose of marriage, not love. As it is I know more unmarried people with children than married people with children. And since marriage is not a prerequisite to breed......

Let gays marry. Chances are a gay couple has much more in common gender wise than a straight married couple, where the husband wants to pursue his own interests but his wife won't let him because she is too shallow and needs to be rescued from herself on an hourly basis.


The Nuclear family is based on nature.   When laws throughout different countries and cultures recognize Marriage as a unique relationship, they are recognizing what is natural and reasonable.     'Gay marriage' is the complete inversion of this.  To recognize it, is for a society to loose grasp of what is based on reason and nature, and fall victim to a twisted and deformed understanding of humanity.  It's to posit an understanding of the human family that is not based on reason and nature, but what is based upon sentimental absurdities which flow from deformed sexual appetites.   Whenever societies base their laws not on what is natural, reasonable and right, but rather on their twisted passions and deformed sentiments, that culture is moving away from civilization, and towards dissolution.   

One of the fallouts from so called 'gay marriage' is the affect on children's sexual behavior.   A gay couple cannot base delaying sexual activity on moral or reason grounds (without being completely hypocritical), so they must try and base it on grounds of sentiment.   Of course, sentiment as we've seen, will not restrain sexual activity, but merely feeds it as sentiments change.    A lesbian couple trying to explain to a 10yr old child that they should not be sexually active because they lack maturity, or because it may cause them emotional pain, merely posits to them that when they feel emotionally mature or when they feel emotionally ready, that it's OK then.    Of course, we all know that once the 10yr old becomes 12, 13 or 14 and now 'feels' very mature compared to when they were 10, they make the decision that they must now be ready.   The twisted sentiment of these lesbians cannot offer a reasonable explanation as to why this child should not become sexually active at a very young age, since they themselves have resorted to twisted sexual appetites.   

Of course, trying to reason with Homosexual's usually proves to be futile, since the vast majority of them have abandoned reason for sentiment.    It's like arguing with a 5 yr old about why they shouldn't have candy for dinner.


I wouldn't 'go biblical' on this but its like Angelina & Brad,Madonna etcetera taking kids from one social arena and dropping them in another.Socially it can't be good for a kid to be 'a fish out of water' and I think its actually quite selfish of a gay couple to 'have' a child that it is physically impossible for them to do naturally between each other.Gay is fine.A couple fine.A wedding,best of luck.A child,frankly is ridiculous,as it can or will stereotype any hazard or misdemeanour that child may encounter and maybe form a sounding board from which the gay citizens can cry foul.It's difficult to foster and/or adopt a child but then for a child to be facing this situation for the remaining years of his or her entire life cannot be a prospect to relish,


And then what' next? Human and animal are allowed to get married too? Bcos it's clearly written in the bible that marriage is for man & woman. I don't agree with their twisted & confused mind & lost understanding about what 'LOVE' really means. (Eros, ethos, philia, agape). In my wildest prediction, if one day many claims to be in Love with their animal & marry them too, would the government allow it too. Bcos from here is the trigger to another rebelion of humans's true nature. And please don't use kids to add sentimental feeling for this wierd gay 'love'. They know a little, and their mind can still be brainwashed by any egocentric ideology you feed them with.


Sorry, but the "notion of family" is NOT being "transformed". It is being ACKNOWLEDGED.

President Obama is correct: "In America, no two families look the same." And, they never have been the same.

Your notion that the "terms “husband” and “wife” are being made "gender-neutral" is nonsense. Husbands are male spouses, and wives are female spouses. It's just tht in same-gender marriages there are TWO husbands or TWO wives. (Why that seems to bother anyone astounds me, but why it is any of anyone else's business simply takes my breath away.)


The Lord does not change........the same yesterday, today, and forever.......

.......Romans 1:24-27...........24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.


"the nuclear-family stereotype of mom and dad and their brood may soon be outdated"


Sodom & Gomorrah