OPINION: What Does Marriage Mean to Me?
When I saw photographs of Amy Coney Barrett smiling above the titles of numerous news outlets, my stomach dropped. Like many members of the LGBTQ+ community, I’ve seen that smile so many times before. It’s usually followed by a snide remark in a benevolent tone.
When I came out to some close friends at 16 I saw that smile a lot. Often from parents no longer comfortable with me coming over to their house anymore. I’ve seen a similar face from my own family members after I express concern after witnessing a hate crime. It is a smile of indifference.
Like many white, middle-class, suburban kids, I was a child of divorce and half-assed religious practices. In fact, I’m a child conceived out of wedlock but baptized Catholic. Similar to Barrett’s appointment to the Supreme Court, you could say the planning around my arrival was messy and rushed. My parents were in search of some outdated social and religious validity. A smoke and mirror concept that is hidden behind hollow politeness, closeted toxicity and projected self judgment of others. The same norms of a 50s era home, fresh white picket fence but a poor foundation of practiced morals.
In my own childhood I was neglected by self-proclaimed Christians. Their treatment ultimately solidified an inner truth inside of me; I was worthless. I was given love if I met certain expectations. My parents were continuing a cycle that was shown to them in their own childhoods. In so many ways, Barrett reminds me of my own mother. I want to end these cycles.
Before I can do that, I need to be a parent. Without marriage the role of parenthood is hard and as a queer person, seemingly impossible. I am less likely to be able to adopt children and start a family if I am not married. Barrett knows this very well. She routinely shows audiences her lack of awareness regarding the LGBTQ+ community. During her confirmation hearing alone, she implied that sexual orientation is a choice.
Often LGBTQ+ people are not able to have the same timeline that straight people do. Queer people often have to create second lives in order to be ourselves. I’ve always seen marriage as a way to do that. Marriage to me means an opportunity to build a healthier future, end trauma-induced cycles and grow with people I love. Building a healthy family feels like my way of being able to put love back into it. Jesus advocated for loving those that need it the most. Today, those communities are the marginalized; Black, Brown and Queer people. Barrett needs to pay closer attention to how she can impact groups of people with a Supreme Court seat.
As easy as it is for me to envision the Barrett family praying the gay away over their Chic-Fil-A dinner, I know Amy believes she’s in the right and that she’s helping somehow. A little advice – if you want to be a faith-filled Christian, I encourage you to question your practices. Modern day Christians shouldn’t prioritize limiting the civil rights of marginalized people.