Erin Okuno is a volunteer parent ambassador with Pride Foundation, working toward the freedom to marry for all Washingtonians. This post originally appeared on the blog Speaking of Women’s Rights.
While making lunch the other day, I thought about my wedding, it was such a fabulous day. It was a gorgeous September day where summer prevailed and our closest friends and family gathered. More than one friend remarked at how diverse, warm, and inviting our wedding felt.
Our close friend Julian conducted the ceremony and gave us a Native American Yakama blessing and cleansing. Julian and his brother Lloyd sang in their language and shared with our guests several Yakama prayers. Around us were friends and family from rich and diverse backgrounds all willing to share their day with us. We had friends from mixed backgrounds, international friends and family, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Natives, Whites, singles and widows, couples straight and gay– some married, some not, old and young, and one couple was celebrating their own 20th wedding anniversary.
That day was special; it symbolized the life we were starting and it represented the life we live and the people we want sharing it with us. Now married for several years and with one pre-school age little boy and another baby weeks away from making a debut, I believe more than ever in wanting my children to respect others who are like or different from them and to be
respected for their own unique and genuineness.
This includes respecting families who may look differently than our family. Our pre-schooler is perceptive. He understands the notion of family and how his family has a daddy, mommy, grandparents, and extended family. Now I want him to know that other families may look different– some may have two or more parents, some may have parents of the same sex, and others may have one parent or a grandparent raising them, or other ways of being a family.
As a parent I realize I only have so much influence over my child (soon to be children) and as they grow that influence will be shared outside of the home. That is why I believe strongly everyone should have the right to be legally married– including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals. Being legally married signals as a community we value all families and that children of lesbian and gay parents- many of whom are and will be my children’s classmates and playmates- are equals, valued, and respected. Already in his class there are several children with two-moms and other family configurations.
As I wrote in a Facebook post after our governor signed the marriage equality bill this year, thanking my friends who worked hard to bring the bill to a vote: “I wish you didn’t have to fight for a right I take for granted. If invited to your wedding I will dance like crazy…” I want others to have wonderful wedding memories and to have the same right to family that I am so fortunate to have.