When we hear about marriage equality, the first thought is always of the couples who have been unable to celebrate their love and solidify their commitment in the way they want to. It is of people who have struggled to get society to accept their identity and their relationships because the law does not recognise their legitimacy. We should be so very glad these relationships are finally going to be recognised properly. Today is truly a momentous day.
But with marriage equality finally passing the parliament, there’s another group who will be quietly celebrating. The children being raised in same-sex families, and the adults who once were.
For these children, their whole lives what they have been raised to know as normal, the love and security they get from their families, has been coloured and tainted by the way the rest of their society views them. Views their mums, or their dads, or their mums and their dads.
We already know from the research that it’s not same sex parents that harm children. We also know that these children are more likely to be sad or depressed, or bullied by their peers. None of that is because their parents are LGBTIQ. It’s the by-product of how our society has until now, made their families seem like weird anomalies. It’s the social rules that say their family is different, their family is wrong, their family is unnatural, that lead bullies to pick on the girl with two mums or the one with two dads.
And when these same kids see their families discussed in the news and in advertising as different, as abnormal, as detrimental — like what happened during the marriage equality survey — that’s what causes damage. It doesn’t just harm small children and teens, it can also effect the grown-up children of same sex parents.