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Siblings with two mothers stand in support of marriage equality

Seniors Hayley Abourezk-Pinkstone and Memo Mederos are siblings because their mothers are in a gay relationship. Credit: The Humane Society. Used With Permission.
Seniors Hayley Abourezk-Pinkstone and Memo Mederos are siblings because their mothers are in a gay relationship. Credit: The Humane Society. Used With Permission.

Nunila is Memo’s aunt and legal guardian. He calls her Tia, which is ‘aunt’ in Spanish, or sometimes he calls her by her first name.

Hayley was legally adopted by her other mom, Tammi Abourezk, when she was younger. She called them [Didi and Tammi] ‘Mom’ and ‘Mama,’ and the names stuck.

Memo and Hayley are part of the increasing number of children today growing up with same-sex parents. According to a poll conducted by the New York Times last year, the number of children being raised by gay parents in the United States was 110,000, increasing by 100 percent from the year 2000.

The number of American families with same-sex parents is rising largely in part to the increase in medical and adoption options available to them. Hayley’s mother Didi conceived her daughter through artificial insemination. Her other mother Tammi adopted her in 1997; she was not in a civil union with Didi, however they took their case to court and had Hayley’s adoption approved by a judge. They still share custody of Hayley.

Another reason why same-sex parents are increasing in the U.S. is because more states are accepting laws that enable gay couples to adopt children. However, gay couples still face numerous obstacles. In most states, gay couples are not allowed to marry and are limited to civil unions.

Rights of civil unions vary from state to state, and as result, the rights of gay couples change when they cross a state line. In California, civil unions are currently able to adopt children. However, same-sex couples in California or any state do not have rights to federal benefits due to the Defense Against Marriage Act which was passed in 1996.

There are multiple reasons to this. In 2012, statistics showed that 51 percent of Americans believed that same-sex marriage should be legalized. However, 40 percent opposed it.

“A lot of the negative stereotypes regarding gay parenting and gay marriage have their roots in fundamental religious beliefs,” Didi said.

Today, people often oppose gay marriage because of their religious beliefs, and sometimes this can stem to something more. Some anti-gay marriage advocates have performed and carried out biased studies regarding the negativities of same-sex parenting. Although there are numerous studies done to prove otherwise, many people still tend to believe that gay marriage and parenting are wrong.

“I have had a few friends that were not allowed to hang out with me when their parents found out about mine,” said Hayley.

Memo is gay himself and is aware of the falseness of the anti-gay biased studies. He said he knows that both his moms have done a great job at raising him and his sister. Hayley agrees.

“I think some people say gay parents do a horrible job because they are afraid that the gay couples will outdo them in raising great kids. They’re just jealous of our mightiness,” he said. “Plus, look at Hayley, she’s been raised by a gay couple and she’s Valedictorian. I can’t say something that awesome for myself, but hey, I’m doing pretty good. I been accepted to [nearly] all my colleges so far.”

What Memo believes may actually be the case. Some studies have shown that same-sex parenting can be more beneficial for children, as gay parents more often choose to be parents, unlike the 50 percent accidental pregnancy rate among heterosexual couples. Studies suggest that gay parents tend to be  considerably more motivated and enthusiastic parents.

“It’s 2013 and people still cannot move on. I know that there are some kids at our school who are still a bit homophobic, and it’s really disappointing that the little kids who I have gone to school with have some hatred for a specific type of community,” Mederos said.

Hayley, too, is disappointed in the anti-gay marriage ideals in the society.

“People may have whatever belief they choose, but of course it’s disappointing to me to see many of my classmates advocate against gay marriage or for the ‘sanctity of marriage’ when I personally believe that any two people in love should have this touching and meaningful privilege,” she said.

On March 26, the Supreme Court saw two cases regarding gay marriage. Lawyers representing one lesbian and gay couple argued against representatives supporting Proposition 8, a California law that only allows marriage between a man and woman.

Public opinion on Proposition 8 has changed drastically so far because of this case. Since the case has started, tweets arguing for gay marriage have flooded in. Polls have shifted. Currently, 63 percent of Americans are for same-sex marriage. Furthermore, according to polls by ABC News and Washington Post, a significant number of young people are siding with gay marriage; eighty-one percent  support it.

In the past two weeks the Supreme Court has changed its opinion; although the ban on same-sex marriage remains fairly strong, more and more senators are voicing their support for gay marriage. Currently, there are only four members left of the Democratic senators that oppose same-sex marriage. The majority of the Republican party support gay marriage as well.

The Washington Post has even gone to claim, “The political fight on gay marriage is over.”

“I am very hopeful that same-sex marriage will be legalized. Everyone has a right to marry who they love,” Didi said. “It’s a matter of equality for everyone and it looks like the time has come. ”

The Supreme Court is scheduled to announce its decision next month.

Marriage is important for same-sex couples, as currently only civil unions are allowed in California. Couples who are in civil unions have less rights than couples who are married. For example, if they are married in one state where same-sex marriage is legal, and travel to another state where it is not, they are not considered a married couple there

“I believe that my parents, like any other pair of people who love each other and are dedicated to each other, should be able to get married if they choose to,” Hayley said.

Her stepbrother strongly agrees.

“I think gay people should be allowed to get married. I know how a ton of people really want the ability to get married,” Memo said. “Some have attended church since they were children and it has always been their dream to marry that special someone at the very church they went to, but they can’t.”

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Siblings with two mothers stand in support of marriage equality