One of the things people who vote for such homophobic amendments as the one that passed in NC often say they're doing it "for the children." I'm here to tell you, it does affect them, but probably not the way those bigots are hoping it will.
My young nieces and nephew were traveling with my parents when a break up song played on the radio and the girls sang along. Zach, six, demanded to know what the song was about.
"It's about a girl who broke up with her boyfriend and she misses him and wants him back," explained his grandmother.
With a dreamy sigh, Ellie, four, said, "I miss my girlfriend."
Zach, always pedantic said, "No, no. You're a girl. You can't have a girlfriend. You have to have a boyfriend."
The oldest at eight, Alice said with long-suffering wisdom, "Well, in New York, she can have a girlfriend, but not in Virginia."
Even three years ago, Alice was already a veteran of the culture wars. When she heard about the plans in her state of Virginia (She may have been a tender six at the time. We don't know how she finds this stuff out, but we suspect she surfed the web in the wee hours of the morning.) to strip her aunts of every form of attachment to each other we'd created, health care proxy, life insurance, etc., she was devastated at the thought that her aunts would be "illegal" in her home state. Not only would we be unable to visit her, she reasoned, but we would be taking a huge risk just driving through on our way to someplace else. Poor kid, this really plagued her. The worries kept her up at night. Oh yes, "think of the children."
Alice told her mom she wanted to work against the passage of the law, against the amendment to "make her aunts illegal." She went to meetings. None of this was created or encouraged by the adults in her world. She just couldn't handle the idea that people would be so mean. Despite the efforts of other fair-minded people, Virginia continues to be well, not so much for lovers outside the margins of approved, church sanctioned reproductive ones.
Now at eleven, Alice understands that while the states might seek to limit the rights of her aunts and other loving committed couples, the tide is turning. She worries about our rights, but not that we are "illegal." In fact, the spark of activism, I'm sad to say, seems to have been smothered under cynicism. She now prefers to get her news from Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. If the people so intent on "protecting children" would talk to Alice, maybe they'd see that all their hatred and fear is doing is creating a generation that will mock their pathetic bigotry with a well-timed eye-roll and a "Seriously?"
The only thing they really want to save is their tiny narrow view of the world. Go ask Alice to explain it to you, haters.