--> divine angst: my 2¢

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

my 2¢

Heidi responds to an argument about gay marriage by expanding the definition of family.

I have to agree with Heidi that families are more, much more, than mom and pop and sibs. I have a large, very large, extended family and we all grew up together, going to the same schools—and the same schools our parents went to—and being each other's best friends. It's wonderful and really quite special to have that sort of built-in support system.

The problem is that a lot of people don't have that experience anymore. Mr. Angst grew up far away from his extended family and doesn't have the same perspective on cousins, aunts, and uncles that I do. More and more people now are only connected to their immediate family, to the two or three or four people in their house. This is something I mourn—I think there was a greater sense of community and continuity when people regularly stayed where they grew up. We're such a mobile nation now; things are much different than they were even 50 years ago.

So I'll add to Heidi's discussion of the bigger nature of family by suggesting that communities can also provide a broadened perspective. Being involved with the people you live and work around develops that sense of intereconnectednes. It also provides a way for people to meet and get to know stable, healthy, same-sex-parented families. (Aren't people saying that's one of the reasons various groups give for the 11 amendments that passed last week—that people "don't know any gay families"—as if "families" can be "gay"?)

So, just adding another layer of discussion.