05/13/2015 07:41 EDT | Updated 05/13/2016 05:59 EDT

Why Same-Sex Parents Shouldn't Take Canadian Policy for Granted

There are so many things I am at once extremely grateful for, yet take for granted on a regular basis.

My wife and both got pregnant relatively easily. Our children are healthy. We live in a country where not only are we protected as gay individuals, but where our family is recognized and protected.

Honestly, as a born and bred Canadian, it's easy to overlook this one.

This week my Facebook news feed has blown up with profile pictures featuring the red equals sign and posts about the SCOTUS hearing. The one that has the potential to grant (or continue to deny) same-sex couples rights that most heterosexual couples take completely for granted. Rights about what happens if their spouse dies. Rights about recognizing non-gestational parents as parents.


It is absolutely horrifying to me to think that if my son had been born in the U.S. rather than Canada that I would not be recognized as his parent. That I would have to go out of my way to complete a second parent adoption and/or jump through other ridiculous hoops to attempt to have a legal right to him as my son.

I saw someone comment on one of my friend's posts something along the lines of, "at least those of us who matter recognize you as a parent." I had to bite my tongue. Well-intentioned as the message was, it's not really true. Yes, it is wonderful and does matter to have the support of the people in our everyday lives, but if something were to happen (death, divorce, etc.) that support wouldn't do much at all. There has to be legal protection and protocol in place to protect our families. That is why this SCOTUS ruling matters. That is why all the American lesbian moms I know are holding their collective breath to see what happens over the following weeks and months. It impacts their lives and the lives of their children.

Since I'm married to an ex-pat I can truthfully say it impacts the lives of our children as well, though certainly not to the same extent. We've put off getting our kids U.S. citizenship since while it should be easy for our son as Jen's biological child, we would have to jump through some of the aforementioned hoops for our daughter who I carried. It would be reassuring to know that if our children were injured while travelling in the States, that either one of us would be able to make medical decisions for them, never mind just being allowed to see them in the hospital.

So, I am also holding my breath. For my friends. For my family. For rights that I usually take for granted, but know many are still struggling to achieve. Let's hope a collective exhale can be released soon, with a sigh of relief.

This post has been edited to remove the children's names.


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