13 years ago, I met my wonderful husband Steve, and I know it may sound cliché, but I mean it when I say that life has been an absolute dream ever since. Our marriage brought our large families together, and boy—has it been a wild ride!
We have a combined stepfamily of nine children. Each of our children is unique—our family is diverse across faith traditions, ages, and sexual orientations. But it’s our differences that make us stronger; they make us, as a family, feel whole.
On a typical night in our home, you’ll find us singing, dancing and play together! We find every excuse to pull out guitars, get on some karaoke, play games and laugh… lots of laughing! Yet, if someone is struggling, emotionally or financially, the group rallies around and is there to offer support. None of us are never alone in this clan.
There’s nothing the love of family can’t get us through. But there is one situation, in particular, where Steve and I felt like our love as parents was just not enough. You see, we have two gay children. And in Utah, that means that two of our children—our beautiful, talented children—are denied the freedom to marry the person they love. Their pursuit of a happily ever after for themselves is stopped short.
When Tyler and Amanda turned 18, they decided to leave Utah because they did not feel safe here or that, given our state’s constitutional amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples, they would have the opportunity to grow in their relationships, start a life and build a family.
As their mom, it is utterly heartbreaking.
To know that any of my children felt they had to flee the state our family calls home, and for a reason I could not just fix for them—it makes me feel helpless.
Marriage brings stability and security to families. When families are stable and validated, our communities are strengthened. Marriage is a vital component to creating a strong healthy family and thus a strong healthy society. And Utah has decided that two of my children are less than, and don’t deserve to share in such a fundamental aspect of family life.
My children mean the world to me. Every single one of my children deserves all the happiness in the world. And it is unacceptable that in Utah, two of my children are singled out and treated differently because of who they are and who they love.
This Mother’s Day, it is crucial that we think of all families here in Utah–including my own–who are impacted by Utah’s marriage ban. A mother’s greatest wish is to protect all of her children, and until the freedom to marry is brought to same-sex couples in our state, I will not feel that all my children are protected. My heart longs for the day when all of my children can feel respected and affirmed in Utah.
Linda Stay lives in St. George with her husband, children, and grand children. She is a life coach and activist.
CLICK HERE to support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Utah.