Over the last two weeks, there has been an uproar over bills about to become law in Indiana and Arkansas. If signed by their respective governors unchanged, these Religious Freedom Restoration Acts would have allowed individuals to refuse service to anyone if it conflicted with their religious beliefs. Much of the controversy was because many interpreted this to be license for florists and bakers to discriminate against LGBT couples looking to get married. Personally, I am not too bothered by private business owners shooing away customers because of their own hangups. I would actually prefer if these businesses took it a step further and posted their discriminatory policies online. It would save me time and gas money not having to pile four kids into the minivan to go visit these hateful establishments. The market will deal with these businesses and I do believe that the number of businesses that actually invoke these RFRA laws will be low because the truth is, discrimination is bad for business.
I’m not worried about cake and flowers. I will happily go elsewhere and do business with better people that are more receptive to my family. What troubles me is how these laws are so broadly worded that they may allow for government employees to refuse service. If a county clerk has a problem with me when I apply for a marriage license or refuses to process my homestead tax exemption because they don’t agree with my family structure, that is a problem that is not as easily remedied with going somewhere else. I feel that government officials, law enforcement officers, and healthcare professionals have a duty to serve the public, and if they can’t handle working with certain minorities, then they should resign and find another more insular line of work.
After much discussion, these laws were hastily amended in attempt to satisfy the public outcry. Let them eat cake. But I do not believe these fixes properly addressed potential situations in government, law enforcement and healthcare. And bills like this are still being considered in other states. I expect more reactionary measures like these will come up in anticipation of the Supreme Court decision coming in June, and the elections of 2016.
Our surrogate has been admitted to the hospital for almost two weeks. Despite her discomfort, she has not shown any signs of early labor. After consulting with the delivering OB/GYN Dr. at Hiranandani Hospital on Wednesday, it was decided in the best interest for the health of the twins to wait until term before scheduling a C-section.
Thus the C-section is scheduled for Monday July 1, one day before 37 weeks gestation. We could have requested Tuesday July 2, but having two sets of twins with the exact same birthday would probably take the whole sharing thing to the extreme after all.
Today we made arrangements for the twins’ umbilical cord blood to be collected and sent to a blood bank. We did this with AJ and JJ 6 years ago, and consider it a worthwhile investment for a couple reasons. There is a lot of ongoing research in developing stem cell therapies for many different illnesses. Given the fact that the egg donor is anonymous in gestational surrogacy, our children may have more difficulty than usual locating a donor match if they should ever need something like a bone marrow transplant. Banked stem cells may come in handy in these circumstances.
In other news, we are very happy with the SCOTUS decisions regarding DOMA and Prop 8. I think it was the best outcome that could be reasonably expected given the Justices currently seated. What remains to be seen in the next few years is how many of the 37 states (including our current home state of Florida) that do not allow gay marriage will get with the program and change their policies before families like ours decide to move on to greener and more welcoming pastures…
This is going to be a big month for us as a family.
AJ caught up to his brother and earned his orange belt in tae kwon do today. AJ and JJ will finish kindergarten next week. Our next trip to India will be longer than our first visit last fall, so we are currently gathering and taking inventory of the many things we need to bring with us. The flight arrangements have been made and we will be flying to Mumbai, India in two weeks hoping to witness the birth of our second set of twins. As mentioned previously, my sister Annie and her husband Rahul have volunteered to take care of AJ and JJ in NYC for a couple weeks while we are away. I am so grateful for their help!
On another note, the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage is expected at the end of this month. This decision will certainly have a profound effect on the legal rights of many LGBT people in our country. But for us specifically, it will have a strange “after the fact” feeling. Opponents of gay marriage have been arguing in hypotheticals about how gay marriage will somehow spell the doom of our society and be detrimental to children. But I am not sure these opponents realize that in reality people like us have been living it already and the kids seem fine. Josh and I have been together for more than 16 years now. We wear rings, we have made a home together, we are raising our children, and this upcoming legal decision will not change any of that. What it will do is determine if Josh and I will have the same legal recognition and rights that straight couples have. In essence, this is not about whether you think that being gay is a good idea. This is about whether you think that gay people should be treated equally by the law for how many of them are already living their lives.