A woman raised by two lesbian moms is stirring up quite the controversy after coming out against gay marriage in a personal essay that went viral this week. Heather Barwick, who once considered herself to be a gay activist, is now against same-sex marriages, saying that the traditional family structure is the best one, especially for young children.
“Gay community, I am your daughter. My mom raised me with her same-sex partner back in the ’80s and ’90s,” Barwick wrote on The Federalist. “I’m writing to you because I’m letting myself out of the closet: I don’t support gay marriage. But it might not be for the reasons that you think. It’s not because you’re gay. I love you, so much. It’s because of the nature of the same-sex relationship itself.”
In her essay, Barwick goes on to talk about how her mother, who already knew that she was gay, left her father to have her shot of happiness with another woman. Unfortunately, Barwick then became estranged with her father. “My dad wasn’t a great guy, and after she left him he didn’t bother coming around anymore.”
Barwick affectionately recalls her non-traditional upbringing in the “burbs of a very liberal and open-minded area” and the important life lessons she learned living within the tight-knit gay community there. “You taught me how to be brave, especially when it is hard…You taught me not be afraid of things that are different. And you taught me how to stand up for myself, even if that means I stand alone,” she wrote.
But even then, Barwick says she struggled growing up without the presence of her father. Despite feeling loved by both her biological mom and stepmom, Barwick says the lack of a male, fatherly figure in her household created a major void for her. “A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting. My father’s absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad,” she wrote. “I loved my mom’s partner, but another mom could never have replaced the father I lost.”
Barwick says growing up in a community where women didn’t want or need men, while desperately wanting her father at her side, left her conflicted. “There were times I felt so angry with my dad for not being there for me, and then times I felt angry with myself for even wanting a father to begin with. There are parts of me that still grieve over that loss today.”
Since getting married and having four kids of her own, Barwick says she’s been able to see the “beauty and wisdom” of a traditional family structure — one she so desperately wanted growing up.”Gay marriage doesn’t just redefine marriage, but also parenting. It promotes and normalizes a family structure that necessarily denies us something precious and foundational,” she concluded.
While her essay was an incredibly candid discussion on her thoughts and feelings about her non-traditional upbringing, many don’t agree with Barwick’s argument against gay marriage.
Abigail Garner, an LGBT family-rights advocate, who was raised by two fathers, told Yahoo! that Barwick’s essay offers a confusing argument that lacks logic.
“While I sympathize with Heather’s pain caused by being abandoned by her heterosexual father, her pain has nothing to do with same-sex marriage,” said Garner. “We are all entitled to our personal narratives, but I strongly disagree with Heather’s contrived attempt to offer her personal story as a case for blocking other families’ access to marriage rights”
Apart from her essay, Barwick did speak to World regarding her life story and how going to church helped her get over her “father wound.” “It really wasn’t until I came to Christ that I felt that burden lifted off of me. And I’m not bitter. I’m not angry … I forgive my dad,” she told them.
Barwick, who now considers herself to be a children’s rights activist, is also one of six people who were raised by gay parents, to sign a public letter supporting the fashion label Dolce and Gabbana, after they made controversial comments on same-sex parents earlier this week.