Lesbian + Lesbian= Baby.
The equation makes some people squirm. For gay parents desiring a family, they see a treasure after the equal sign. A baby would be a dream come true. Yet, a bigger question looms. Do LGBT parents adopt? Try artificial insemination? How about using an embryo made with an ex-husband?
That last option is the focal point of Jodi Picoult’s new book, “Sing You Home,” which hit the USA Today Best-Seller books list. After many unsuccessful attempts at having children, heterosexual couple Zoe and Max get a divorce. Life takes a complete 180 when alcoholic Max finds God in an accident and Zoe finds a wife in Vanessa. Lesbian school guidance counselor Vanessa has captured the heart of Zoe, a music therapist, and the two tie the knot in Massachussetts. Unable to have a baby, Zoe wants Vanessa to carry one of the frozen embryos created by Zoe and Max. Enter glitch number one. They need the approval of Max, now firmly entrenched in conservative doctrines.
Right-wing versus left-wing ignites. Max’s brother and sister-in-law become entangled in the mix and a courtroom battle ensues. For some gay parents, the pages of fiction blur with real life as tired, conservative adages are used to sling mud to prevent Zoe and Vanessa from carrying a child. The Biblical defenses of homosexuality is a sin and God does not approve come into play.
Picoult’s inspiration to write the book stems from her desire for equal, LGBT rights, an area where she feels the United States is lagging behind. With many gay friends and a gay son who came out to her in a college application essay while she was penning “Sing You Home,” Picoult felt strongly about the book’s message.
“. . . It became the mission of a mother,” said Picoult in a recent USA Today article. “Because when Kyle is ready to get married and does have kids, I don’t want him to jump through hoops.”
With the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) recently being cited as unconstitutional, a tug-of-war to keep these “hoops” for gay individuals has sparked some local opinions concerning LGBT rights and families.
Said Janet Cox, a parent in Buffalo, New York, “I believe all people have the right to happiness and the pursuit of it. Marriage between a man and a woman does not guarantee a successful union. Evidence of this is clear in our divorce statistics. And children raised by our one male and one female parent don’t guarantee well-adjusted, successful adults.”
Reflecting on the morality question of LGBT individuals raising children, Cox said, “Nurturing adults who love children and teach them right from wrong are good parents and raise well-adjusted, successful children. Again, sex has nothing to do with it. There are many children of single parents who have thrived. Our president being one of them.”
“Sing You Home,” was created while Picoult talked to individuals on both sides of the gay morality coin. Picoult spoke to same-sex couples and the Christian group Focus on the Family that supports DOMA.
“What does it mean to be gay today, in America?” said Picoult on her website. “How do we define a family? Those are two questions I hoped to answer while writing SING YOU HOME…Gay rights is not something most of us think about- because most of us happen to have been born straight…”
“Sing You Home” readers will be the final judge on how well those questions are answered. That is something worth thinking about.