Here’s a story about Cheryl and Keri.
Once upon a time they met and fell in love and decided to get married, start a family, and spend the rest of their lives together.
So Cheryl and Keri went to Vermont and had a civil union. And they used artificial insemination to have a daughter. Cheryl was the birth mother. And all was good.
Then, as too often happens in such stories, things went sour. Cheryl found out that Keri had been unfaithful and their relationship ended with remorse and recrimination. Keri moved out.
But though they were no longer a couple, Keri continued to see her daughter. Even after Cheryl moved from Utah to Texas, Keri would drive to see her child. This did not make Cheryl happy. So she stopped Keri’s access. And became ex-gay. And used the resources of the anti-gay movement to punish Keri and drive her away from her child.
The Supreme Court of Utah just decided in favor of Cheryl.
This sickens me not only because of the immorality of placing anti-gay bigotry ahead of all of the intentions of the couple, but also because ex-gay conversion was used to gain support from anti-gay activists and because the anti-gay religious community is rejoicing in one woman’s pain.
For me this raises a number of questions.
First, is there any moral reasoning that can justify separating Keri and her daughter? Perhaps one could argue that the law was what it was and that this is a sad conclusion. But morally?
Here’s what the Alliance Defense Fund had to say:
“Protecting the well-being of a small child trumps the desire of a legal stranger to usurp the care and protection of that child’s mom,” said the group’s Joe Infranco. “The Utah Supreme Court ruled correctly in affirming Cheryl Barlow’s right as a natural parent and putting an end to visitation with a woman who has no legitimate legal relationship to the child.”
And I’ve yet to see anyone from the ex-gay community condemn this action. Which makes me wonder whether they favor this cruel decision.
Second, what else could Keri have done to protect her family? Utah refused to recognize the steps she did take and did not allow her to take others solely because she was part of a same-sex couple.
And yet the ex-gay movement continues to claim that gay couples don’t need protections afforded by civil unions or marriage and is actively involved in efforts to prohibit same-sex adoptions.
I know that many ex-gay advocates read our comments here. And many will tell us that they are not vindictive or hateful or in favor of discriminatory or punitive treatment towards gay people. Some of you claim that you wish to treat others the way that you want to be treated.
My challenge to you ex-gay ministers is this:
Is there anyone involved in the ex-gay movement that thinks this is a morally unjustifiable result?
Is there anyone in the ex-gay movement brave enough to say, “I don’t want my children taken away from me so I find it unacceptable that Keri’s daughter was taken from her”?
Is there anyone willing to admit that using the ex-gay movement as a tool to be spiteful and vindictive is inappropriate?
Is there anyone willing to say that same-sex couples should be empowered to make decisions about their family and take protections – either through adoptions or civil unions or partnerships – that cannot be vetoed at the whim of an ex-partner?
In short, is there anyone involved in the ex-gay movement that is willing to take a stand for fairness, humanity, decency and basic morality?