(OKLAHOMA CITY) By the merest happenstance, pure coincidence, being in the right place at the right time, I've run across a very good and straight-forward DVD from Canada,"Fatherhood Dreams", that follows three gay families who have chosen to raise children.
Canada is the second largest country in North America, a parliamentary democracy and the only one that recognizes same-gender marriage throughout the country, not just in five of its states like the United States, or one city like Mexico.
The DVD follows some family scenes among three groups of gay and lesbian parents with both biological and adoptive children. The details of government support are hinted at but not detailed. You can read about how a strong government program, called Employment Insurance (EI) supports its citizens without regard to sexual orientation or religious belief by going to this link, Service Canada, http://tinyurl.com/2g5mv2q
Randy and Drew, married under Canadian law, adopt a baby boy from a woman whose family has a history early teen pregnancy through three generations. In this case, the adoptive and biological parents have agreed to stay in contact.
Stephen, a patent attorney in British Columbia, married a woman early in his life, who knew of his gay orientation,and fathered a child with her. Latter, the birth mother acknowledged her lesbian orientation and began a domestic relationship with another woman, who herself had a child by artificial insemination. The three share parenting duties and at the time of filming Stephen and wife were discussing the pros and cons of divorcing in order to insure the best custody situation for the two children.
Third, but not the least, is the example of Scott, a single gay man with a strong need for parenting, who through surrogacy, has not only the one child he was thinking of, but twins, boy and girl. Interviews with the surrogate mother are included in the 55-minute DVD.
The DVD extras include two additional stories of gay men and the acceptance and discrimination faced by those who are gay and feel the need for parenting. There's also a 7-minute Q & A session with some ofthe principles and the director of the film.
Though parenting is not on my life list of things to do before I die I found this DVD expanding and challenging to my civil rights activism.
It isn't enough to just be comfortable about what I find necessary in my situation, it's also important to know there are many avenues to a productive life that advance peace and happiness for others.
I don't want to fall in the trap of thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the border by comparing this legal recognition of same-gender marriage in Canada to the religiously-dominated repression that has so entrapped the United States of America with its constant boasting of liberty and freedom, but one has to consider what is important for the livelihood and welfare of a country: dominating the world economically and militarily, or maintaining a strong domestic resiliency that promotes personal fulfillment without creating divisive class discrimination.
James Nimmo is active in progressive issues and believes no one should be denied their equality because of the accidents of birth and circumstances.