Sometimes, all it takes to make a tirelessly partisan political debate a bit more human, is a personal story of love and inclusion. Daniel Martinez-Leffew, a 12-year-old boy with Goldenhar Syndrome, a genetic disorder affecting the left side of my body, is just the person to do it.
At the age of five, Daniel, a foster child, was deemed "unadoptable" because of his medical problems and was tragically separated from his brother. He explained that he was given a second chance when a gay couple adopted him and his sister:
“I lost my little brother Emilio because some people wanted to adopt him but they weren't willing to adopt me because of my medical conditions. Lucky for me, that’s when my two dads came along.”
Daniel’s family, like thousands of others, is under threat because of Prop 8, an initiative that makes same-sex marriage illegal in California. During the video, he reads his moving letter to Justice John Roberts, asking him to strike down the proposition:
“You and I both know that family goes deeper than blood. I was lucky to be adopted by two guys I can both call dad. They give me and my sister so much love […] Our family is like any other […] I know you have tough decision to make on the gay marriage issue, but my family is just as valuable and worthwhile as any other”
On March 27, DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), which defined marriage as the union between a man and a woman, will also be heard in court. Bill Clinton, who originally signed the bill into law, recently came out strongly opposing it. In an op-ed for the Washington Post, he said:
“Among other things, these couples cannot file their taxes jointly, take unpaid leave to care for a sick or injured spouse or receive equal family health and pension benefits as federal civilian employees. Yet they pay taxes, contribute to their communities and, like all couples, aspire to live in committed, loving relationships, recognized and respected by our laws.”