Thursday, December 07, 2006

Conservative Families and Love

From CNN...

Mary Cheney, 37, and her partner of 15 years, Heather Poe, 45, are expecting a baby in late spring, said Lea Anne McBride, a spokeswoman for the vice president.

"The vice president and Mrs. Cheney are looking forward with eager anticipation" to the arrival of their sixth grandchild, McBride said.


Now, this might be an unpopular post, and you don't have to agree with me. But I'm feeling annoyed that both liberal gay rights groups and conservative anti-gay-rights groups are jumping on this.

I think the whole thing is sweet. And I don't like people using this sweet and real story for political fodder.

I come from a very conservative, Catholic family. My family members don't approve of living a gay lifestyle, because it's against the Church's teachings. They don't approve of gays bringing children into the world or of artificial insemination, because the Church teaches that all conception should take place between married couples. So, at least, in the abstract, they don't support these things.

But, they are a loving family. And I'm family. They love me no matter what. They love me even if we hold different values and disagree politically and religiously. And ya know what? That's okay.

They have accepted Lo as one of the family. They treat her like family.

They came to my wedding. My uncle, a deacon in the Catholic church, couldn't come to the ceremony because he isn't permitted. (To be fair, he also can't go to the wedding ceremonies of people who were married in the Catholic Church, then divorced, and then remarried.) My aunt felt the need to consult a priest to see if he thought it was okay if she went. These things, while a little stinging, also show just how much they value me as a niece. If they didn't love me or care, then my uncle wouldn't have come to the reception and my aunt wouldn't have consulted her priest (who incidentally said she could go with a clear conscience and she did).

I am sure they will not approve of me bringing a child into the world. But if anyone will feel the brunt of that, and perhaps no one will, but if it's anyone, it will be me. They will not take it out on my child. They will love my child because it is my child; it's family. And they will fight over who gets to hold the baby just like with all of my cousin's babies. (Fighting to hold the baby is practically a death sport in my family.)

I think the vice president's reaction is totally sweet. He may not agree with his daughter's lifestyle. But he loves his daughter nonetheless. He may not agree that gays should have the right to marry. But he's going to love this grandchild just as much as he loves all his other grandchildren. Life is complicated sometimes. But sometimes even when people can't open up their minds, for family, they will open up their hearts. I think sometimes that's enough.


J said...

There's lots of thoughts/issues around this that I have varying degrees of comfort with, but for the most part, besides being jealous, I'm happy for them. And with the VP's response. I'd love to know what GW's response is.

I've seen Mary and her partner bashed on all sorts of blogs today, with some people even hoping for the worst possible things for this baby, which I think is gross.

I do think it will be interesting to see what their response as a family will be, to the homophobia they will face, especially living in Virginia. Will they move? Or fight? Potentially, they have the opportunity to move the marriage cause further ahead than anyone has yet to do, because they are already inside the conservative infrastructure, looking out, instead of being on the outside, criticizing what's within.

Ok. Rambly. Nice post.

Grrlscout said...

Great post. I can relate, somewhat, because I come from a family where we just did not *talk* about my sexuality. I didn't necessarily try to hide it, but I didn't want to shove it down my parents' throats either. My parents are in their 70's, and haven't had a lot of exposure to gays and lesbians (other than me, of course). They have always treated me with dignity and respect. AAnd loved me unconditionally. And, they treat J. like a member of the family. Many view me as doing everyone a disservice by not having the formal "coming out" discussions, but we just didn't. And I don't regret it.
Now, my parents are pretty open about the whole thing. We have talked about it in the open, talked about J. as my partner, talked about the baby journey. And they are great. I think partly, in fact, to the subtle breaking in period whereby they saw that nothing was really different about me, as a daughter and a member of the family. If that makes sense.

I think people have a right to privacy as to how they handle family matters, and I also think people should not be so quick to judge, and not so quick to try to impose "how things should be done" on situations they likely don't understand.

Anonymous said...

THANK you! I agree wholeheartedly, and I'm not an a@@kisser-type.

Mo said...

I totally agree with you here too. I was so psyched to hear that Mary was pg, and happy for her extended family as well. My family has come really far since I came out to them, and the kids have caused my mom to even become outspoken about gay rights. I'm not a big fan of Cheney's politics, obviously, but he does also have a personal life and I think he really will be a doting grandparent to this child.

Mo said...
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Mo said...
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Mo said...

Sorry, I don't see a delete icon, so I can't delete those extra comments! If you have the power to do that, please do!

e. said...

Great post.

It's true conservative families can be open and accept us. I come from a republican fam. My dad is conservative and has said and done things that boil my blood. If he were not my dad I'd probably hate him. But the fact of the matter is, he loves his family and is willing to learn and grow from us.

He was not so cool when A. and I started dating (and I came out). He was not excited about our commitment ceremony (2002), which we canceled (due to crazy family members). When we announced that we were taking the money we’d saved and going to Aruba for a private ceremony between the two of us, all he had to say was "that's the best plan I've heard since you started talking about this." I am even pretty sure he hated every minute of our legal wedding ---that he paid for--- and now two plus years after our wedding and 6 years into our relationship - he is learning the ins and outs of helping same sex couples plan and secure their finances (he's a financial planner). He called A. yesterday to tell her all about some Pride meeting he attended and all the things we should be doing to protect our relationship.

This is progress! I am sure he wishes I were with a man, but he has accepted it and is in some way doing his own activism, and above all, supporting his gay daughter and her wife. And I am SURE he voted for GW two times. Oh yeah, and he can’t wait for us to have a baby!