Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A 5-Year Old's View On Same Sex Marriage

On a recent trip back to the DC area, I stopped in to Kevin's sister's house to visit with her and her two kids: Quinn, who's 2.5 years old, and her big brother Griffin, who's 5.5.  Griffin and I were putzing around with PlayDoh while Kerry and I talked about wedding plans.  Griffin had apparently been listening to the conversation and decided to inquire:
Griffin:  Who's getting married?
Me:  I am.  I'm getting married.  Who do you think I should marry?
Griffin:  
Me:  Uncle Kevin.  I'm going to marry Uncle Kevin.
Griffin:  You can't marry Uncle Kevin!
Me:  Why not?
Griffin: Because you're both boys!
At this point I looked at Kerry.  Both of us had the same expression:  very wide eyes with huge smiles.
Kerry:  Griffin, in some places boys can marry boys and girls can marry girls.
Griffin:  No.
Kerry:  No?  Why no?
Griffin:  It's not allowed.
Me:  But what if I told you that in some places, it IS allowed and that some people think it's okay.
Griffin:  And then there are some people who think that its NOT okay.
Me:  Yes, there are some of those people.  What do you think those people say about it.
Griffin:  They say, 'AARRRGGGGHHHHHH!'
Me:  Well, that's about right.
Remember, Griffin is 5 years old.  All he knows of life is what he's seen in Disney movies and what he learns in kindergarten.
Griffin:    But Belle marries the Beast.
Me:  What if the Beast married Gaston instead?
Griffin:  He can't, he's a bad guy.
All he knows is that in the end, a prince marries a princess and they live together forever.  But the really amazing thing is that Kevin and I got together about 3 years before Griffin was even born.  He's known me all his life.  He knows that Kevin and I live together in Chicago.  And it never occurred to me or Kevin or even Kerry that Griffin apparently just thinks of me as family without any other context.  It's apparently never occurred to him that Kevin and I are a couple just like his mom and dad, or like Grandma and Grandpa (Kevin's parents).  Or perhaps, if in kindergarten he has learned what an uncle or aunt is, he may just think I am Kerry's brother also.  Ultimately, Griffin just doesn't know any different.  It's the most wonderful and sweet kind of ignorance, free of judgment and open to discussion.

After I left, I took a detour to a bookstore to buy Griffin a copy of And Tango Make Three, a true story about two male penguins in Central Park Zoo.  The book is at least an introduction to the subject.  And it might come in handy a few years from now when Quinn is trying to figure things out, too.

Kerry continued the conversation casually with Griffin throughout the day, and Kevin called Griffin later once he heard about what happened.  By then, Griffin was accepting of the idea and was actually planning on marrying his best friend.  He said they would live in a house and play zombies and Angry Birds all day.  Which, on some Sundays, is exactly what Kevin and I do, too.