Where ever you stand on gay marriage chances are you'll be asked about it by young children. Today's media is full of coverage regarding laws and propositions to legalize gay marriage and further equal rights for all citizens. Beyond media coverage, today's pop culture is full of gay couples and story lines.
I remember the first time my grade-schooler asked about a man on a food network challenge show who was talking about his husband. My son was puzzled and immediately asked in disbelief "is he a woman?" Calmly I answered, "no, he's a man." But my son wasn't convinced and said, "but how could a man marry a man?" I went on to explain very simply after my husband and I tentatively locked eyes, "well, when you grow up you'll hopefully be able to choose if you marry a man or a woman." And with that my son dropped the conversation and so did we.
For a second, I thought to avoid the topic all together, but in my heart, I knew avoiding it didn't do it any justice. I believe (and this is my personal belief) that gay marriage is a civil rights issue. I believe in equality for ALL. I believe that love is love and can be shared by any who responsibly decide to. This may not be your opinion, but hopefully there's one thing we can all agree on... Kids will have questions about societal changes, laws and pop culture and it is our job to lovingly answer these questions.
Maybe the conversation comes up because of an episode of Modern Family or perhaps a child's classmate happens to have same-sex parents; like with the "birds and the bees", it will eventually come up and should be addressed. Parents should keep this conversation simple and as loving as possible regardless of varied views because acceptance in spite of differences is a very powerful lesson for children. Finally, if broaching this subject feels too tough to personally explain try one of these books: