First comes love, then comes marriage. Then come all the thorny issues that arise with raising kids in a religious tradition when that religious tradition doesn’t see you as married.
When another state legalizes gay marriage, as New Hampshire did recently, civil-rights activists cheer. But practicalities are another matter, and same-sex couples—especially those who want to raise their children with religion—may find that the laws intended to protect them may also create new domestic challenges previously unforeseen. That two men or two women would want to marry and raise children in a church that views their love as sinful would be, in the eyes of some, puzzling at best. (I’m focusing on the Roman Catholic tradition here, but any orthodox religion presents similar trials.) Many people feel that religion is essential to them, however, and that family life would be emptier without it. Gregory Maguire, author of the novel Wicked, has had all three of his children baptized in the Catholic Church. He recently watched proudly as his youngest child had her first holy communion. “As the daughter of two dads, she sat in the first pew in her beautiful, white, borrowed gown,” Maguire told me. “And then she sang, ‘I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, down in my heart’.”