Tag Archives: parents

Looking for a Diagnosis

Behaviors that mystify and depress me:

A few days ago, the news carried a poignant story about an Ohio man named John Arthur. Arthur is in the terminal stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease, and is dying.  He and his partner of twenty-plus years recently flew to Maryland together, in a specially-equipped aircraft, in order to be legally married before Arthur died, something their home state of Ohio would not permit.  According to news reports, Arthur was unable to rise from his hospice bed.

When they returned to Ohio, they won a court decision that allowed Arthur to fulfill his dying wish. As Think Progress reported:

In his final days, Arthur wants to honor his commitment to his husband. He wants his own death certificate to list Obergefell as his “surviving spouse.” And he wants to die knowing that his partner of 20 years can someday be buried next to him in a family plot bound by a directive that only permits his lawfully wedded spouse to be interred alongside him. And, on Monday, a federal judge ruled that Arthur should indeed have the dignity of dying alongside a man that Ohio will recognize as his husband.

And now, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) wants to take that dignity away from Mr. Arthur. The day after a judge issued a temporary restraining order requiring Ohio to list Arthur’s husband as his “surviving spouse” on his death certificate, DeWine announced that he would appeal this decision and try to strip a dying man of his final wish.

The judge’s order is limited exclusively to Arthur and Obergefell. Indeed, as the judge explains, “there is absolutely no evidence that the State of Ohio or its citizens will be harmed by the issuance” of an order requiring Ohio to acknowledge the two men’s marriage. “No one beyond Plaintiffs themselves will be affected by such a limited order at all.”

Closer to home, a relative I dearly love has been in a same-sex relationship for 5 1/2  years. From all indications, the relationship was mutually-supportive and loving. The only issue that has troubled them has been the refusal of her partner’s parents to accept the fact that their daughter is gay. When it appeared that she would not “grow out” of “this phase,” they issued an ultimatum: renounce what you are and terminate this relationship, or we will no longer consider you our daughter.  She acquiesced.

My relative is heartbroken, and I ache for her, but I know she will eventually find someone less conflicted. My deeper sympathies are for the girl torn between her family and her identity–the girl without the inner strength to be who she is in the face of her family’s twisted and selfish “love.”

I don’t understand people like these. I don’t know what it is that makes them so vicious and judgmental, so willing to hurt other human beings who are just trying to live their lives. I don’t understand politicians who define success by how well they can marginalize and demonize other people.   I especially don’t understand parents who would reject an accomplished and dutiful child simply because she loves differently–parents who would consign a child to a life of pretense and loneliness rather than reconsider beliefs that are already headed for the dustbin of history.

There must be a psychiatric diagnosis that explains these poor excuses for human beings, but I don’t know what it is.