Concerns About Proposition 8

Dear Dr. Manny: I have heard that groups which are promoting a ban on gay marriages known as Proposition 8 spend as much money on this campaign as Democrats spend on the election. What do you think about this? Concerned, San Francisco Dear Concerned: I usually do not like to talk about politics, however this time there is one issue which will go on the ballot and I would like to share with you my point of view. I'm talking about Proposition 8. I really didn't have a specific opinion about this subject though I have a number of good friends who are gay men and who have been together with their partners for longer than some people, men or women I know have been married to each other. Recently we were invited to the wedding of a client of ours, Stephen and Mike who have been together for 38 years, then we received a call informing us that Michael is in the hospital and in serious condition and that the wedding was postponed. The other day I checked with Stephen on how Michael is doing and he told me that unfortunately his temperature went up. Nevertheless they decided to have a wedding last Friday October 17th in the hospital and Stephen told me that after that I can congratulate him as a married man. We might not understand the reasons why people choose one kind of partner versus another and it's not our business to judge. At the same time if two human beings who love each other want to be married it is their choice. In my view no one can tell them no. There are also other important concerns connected with this issue. A good friend of mine, attorney, Vivian L. Holley who specializes in conflict resolutions, prenuptial agreements, and helping partners in friendly marriage break ups through divorce, and who is not a gay person, has written a very important article on the subject of gay marriages. Please see the following page for her article “It’s ALL About the Children”. P.S. If you would like to congratulate Stephen and Mike you can send us an e-mail and we will forward it on to them.

Share it with a Friend, Manny Kagan, PhD, President Mortgage Consultant Pacific Bay Financial Corporation 415-682-0300 direct 415-242-0560 fax

“It's ALL About the Children"
In the battle and rhetoric over the legality of same-sex marriage, one very important member of the family is being overlooked -- the children born into same-sex families. Same sex marriage gives these children the right to be raised by both their parents, at last. Over the last 30 years in my role as a Family Law Custody Attorney and Marriage, Family, and Child Therapist, I have watched the laws and judges of California contort our woefully inadequate laws in an effort to determine whether the non-biological parent in unmarried same-sex couples can have custody and visitation rights with the children after the same-sex parent couple breaks-up. Until very recently the non-biological parent has lost all access to the children and the children have suffered the loss of their family and all access to their second parent. Same-sex households with children number in the many thousands -- estimates suggest as many as 60,000 children are being raised in California in these non-traditional households. While heterosexuals have always had the right to marry, and the right to apply for a step-parent adoption, those rights were usually not available for same-sex parents. Over the last twenty or so years a few courageous county judges have allowed the second same-sex parent to adopt the child of the other parent, but that was dependent upon finding a local judge who would be willing to override the policy of the State of California where adoption investigators had been instructed to not approve the placement of children in same-sex households.

Short of adoption, the non-biological same-sex parent had no legal redress with the family courts to continue his or her relationship with their child past the break-up. The laws on the books spoke about "paternity" and the rights and obligations of "sperm donors" but over and over again courts held none of the laws on the books allowed lesbian and gay partners access to the children they had been raising since they failed to fit into the definitions of the various types of parents recognized legally under the written laws. Children were not legally allowed to have two "fathers" or two "mothers" and the non-biological lesbian partner did not qualify as a "father". Same-sex families are just like heterosexual families. They break up too, and when they do, they often fight over the children. Except, the law has always protected the children in heterosexual families where custody and visitation with both parents was decided using the standard of "the best interest of the child". It has been the policy of the State of California to allow frequent access to both parents. But, no such standard applied to the children of same-sex couples - no one cared what happened to them because their parents did not fit into the legal definition of a parent! Recently, the law has changed, and for the better of all our children. First with domestic partnership registration and now with marriage, it is no longer possible for one parent to entirely exclude the children from seeing their second parent. The California Supreme Court has even recently recognized the rights and obligations of the second parent to pay

child support. Few same-sex couples have registered, and not all couples will marry. However, finally it is possible before a child is conceived for both parents to commit equally to raising the child equally and forever. It will no longer be possible to freeze out the second parent if a marriage has taken place because now the children will be allowed access in person and financially to both parents upon the break-up of their parents. It is the children who come out ahead with same sex marriage, and for that reason, if no other, every person who purports to believe in strong families where children can be loved by both parents should support the rights of same sex marriage. IT IS ALL ABOUT THE CHILDREN! Vivian L. Holley