What’s a “family?”

AB53821Mom. Dad. Two kids (the older a boy, the younger a girl). A dog, probably of mixed breed. Perhaps a cat, perhaps not.

In Connecticut, when Love Makes a Family began lobbying for marriage equality for same-sex couples, one concern from some of their vocal opponents was that once homosexuals could be married, where would it end? Polygamy? Someone marrying the afore-mentioned dog or cat?

As it turns out, those fears were groundless. In the four-plus months since the state Supreme Court ruled banning same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional, there’s been no rush to Connecticut’s picturesque town halls by pet owners wanting to wed their dogs, nor has there been an increase in polygamy in the Land of Steady Habits. (That nickname might explain a lot of the opposition, as well — and, perhaps, our lack of polygamous families.)

In short, gays and lesbians are getting married in churches, city halls, and in front of their own fireplaces. The ceremonies are heartfelt and loud, quiet, and every bit as varied as are the ceremonies enjoyed by their heterosexual friends and family. And they are getting married as couples, period.

But writer Rebecca Walker has edited a book, “One Big Happy Family: 18 Writers Talk About Polyamory, Open Adoption, Mixed Marriage, Househusbandry, Single Motherhood, and Other Realities of  Truly Modern Love” (Riverhead), about the various ways we define family.

I’m guessing that many of the people who opposed same-sex marriage won’t love this book, but the essays are fervent in their attempt to mark the fluid boundaries of family.  And this isn’t all that odd. My son is engaged to a mother of five (I’ve explored this before and will certainly do so again), whose former in-laws are quite involved in their grandchildren’s lives. So we filled a row at a recent school concert with my son, a couple of the kids who weren’t performing that night, and their paternal grandmother. Yes, it’s confusing, and yes, it’s family. You got a problem with that?

It is also heart and pathos and pain and, well, it’s family.

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Published by datingjesus

Just another one of God's children.

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