A woman raised by her mother and her mother’s lesbian partner is speaking out about why she doesn’t believe in gay marriage.
In an open letter published by The Federalist, 31-year-old Heather Barwick explains that she doesn’t agree with gay marriage because she missed out on the chance of having a father in her life as a child and adolescent.
Barwick, now a mother-of-four living in South Carolina, explains that her mother left her father when she was very young to be with the woman that she loved. As Barwick notes, her biological father “wasn’t a great guy” and “didn’t bother coming around anymore” once her mother left him. Barwick says that she was an outspoken advocate for gay marriage and LGBT rights in her 20s, but now, she explains that she has changed her views.
“I’m writing to you because I’m letting myself out of the closet: I don’t support gay marriage,” Barwick writes. “But it might not be for the reasons that you think.”
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“Same-sex marriage and parenting withholds either a mother or father from a child while telling him or her that it doesn't matter. That it's all the same. But it's not,” the mother-of-four continues. “A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting. My father's absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad. I loved my mom's partner, but another mom could never have replaced the father I lost.”
While some understand Barwick’s position, others seem to think that the issue isn’t so much about gay marriage as it is about having an absentee father.
“While I sympathize with Heather's pain caused by being abandoned by her heterosexual father, her pain has nothing to do with same-sex marriage,” LGBT family rights advocate and author Abigail Garner said, according to the Daily Mail. “We are all entitled to our personal narratives, but I strongly disagree with Heather's contrived attempt to offer her personal story as a case for blocking other families' access to marriage rights.”
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Barwick goes on to say that it wasn’t until she “came to Christ” that her father issues went away, and now, she’s speaking out about the pain she experienced being raised by a same-sex couple in the hopes that other children of gay parents speak out.
“I know this is a hard conversation. But we need to talk about it,” Barwick writes, in closing. “If anyone can talk about hard things, it’s us. You taught me that.”
Barwick’s brief biography describes her as a “former gay-marriage advocate turned children's rights activist.”