A couple of weeks ago my sister and I took the kids to see ParaNorman for boys’ movie night. It’s a cute film. There’s a great scene in which the hunky football player obliviously tells the pretty girl who’s been hitting on him the entire movie that he can’t wait for her to meet his boyfriend. After the credits rolled, Gus turned to my sister and said, “He said that about having a boyfriend because he’s like Daddy and Papa, right?”
This two-plus-two moment came at the same time that KSL announced it wouldn’t air the show, The New Normal. The irony wasn’t lost on me.
When KSL announced that the show didn’t fit in with its brand, Facebook lit up with comments like: “Its brand of homophobia” and “Its brand of bigotry.” For me, the decision meant that The New Normal doesn’t fit in with KSL’s view of family.
I’ve always been uncomfortable with organizations – religious or otherwise – that subscribe to a narrow definition of family. It’s just so, well, limiting. Maybe it’s the type of family I grew up in – one in which just about everyone was an uncle or aunt, and all the cousins were raised communally like siblings.
When Kelly and I were first dating, he asked me how many kids my grandparents had, and how many of the girls were named “Mary.” It finally dawned on me that in the more limited view of family he had experienced, second cousins aren’t called “aunt.”
But we’re raising the boys to have a more fluid and encompassing view of what a family can be. What I find interesting is that long before the boys were twinkles in their daddies eyes, Kelly and I were apparently good role models for what it means to be a family to the younger generation.
Recently, my 24-year-old nephew told me what he’s most proud of about his upbringing is that for his entire life he always had two uncles. There was never any discussion at home about whether it was good or bad. There wasn’t a conversation of how Uncle Chris was “different.” It was just an everyday part of his life.
And no matter what television stations, religions or politicians may think, gay families are now a part of the norm. Just the other day my parents and uncle received wedding invitations from a lesbian couple. Their only thought: Where were the ladies registered?
KSL actually may have done a great favor for The New Normal. Announcing that the program doesn’t fit in its conservative viewpoint, and refusing to air it, wasn’t just news here in Salt Lake. It was a story all across the country. Their decision may likely encourage hundreds of thousands of people to watch the program, who otherwise wouldn’t have tuned in. (Utahns can see it on the CW.)
And what they’ll see is just another American family, one that may be completely foreign to them or totally recognizable. But it’ll still seem normal – just like lesbian weddings, gay uncles, kids with two dads, and animated football players with boyfriends.
Update: I want to apologize to Congressional candidate Soren Simonsen. He responded to my questions for my last column highlighting the major Congressional candidates’ positions on marriage equality well before my deadline, but for some reason, they never made it to me. Councilman Simonsen unwaveringly supports marriage equality, and includes the issue in his campaign literature. He’s the type of ally our community can rely on and is well-deserving of our support. Sorry about the mix up.