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Our American 'Modern Family' Is Now Old Hat

May 30, 2013 in Economics

By Walter Olson, Steve Pippin

Walter Olson and Steve Pippin

As thousands protested the recent legalization of gay marriage in France — and the U.S. Supreme Court gets ready to weigh in on the issue in June — HuffPost’s “International Spotlight” presents the views of three gay couples, all raising children, in France, the U.S. and also Canada, where gay marriage has been legal for eight years. Tomorrow: France.

The United States is seen as distinctively ‘conservative’ among the world’s great nations, yet it’s also the world’s arch-incubator of innovative social change.”

Because Modern Family is our son’s favorite TV comedy, we once asked him which of the characters he thinks he’s like. His first choice was Luke, the youngest Dunphy kid, whose role is famously written to sound like a real 13-year-old instead of a sitcom 13-year-old. Then he thought of Manny, the son of the Sofia Vergara character, who’s “like me because he doesn’t have any brothers or sisters” (or at least didn’t then). “Besides,” he added thoughtfully, with a glance at us, “his dad’s really old.” Wincing at that, and happy to change the subject, we asked whether he identified with Lily, the toddler being raised by the Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson characters. Oh, definitely, he said: “She has silly daddies.”

Perhaps we were preordained, or at least self-selected, to play the role of silly daddies: As guys of our ilk go, we’re ultra-stable, low-drama types with a 30-foot-deep nesting instinct and scant interest in nightlife. Before we got around to considering parenthood seriously, several parents in our circle of mostly straight friends had urged us to do so.

It was the women especially who kept pushing. “Have you ever considered becoming a parent?” an Obviously Competent Mom would say over the second glass of wine. “You should.”

“Thanks. I see the logic and value in the vote of confidence, but don’t you think as a parent I would count as adorably clueless?”

“Guess what? I was too!” our O.C.M. would reply. “So are most of us when we start. You’d be surprised how fast you learn. Most of all, your kid does the teaching.”

That helped, but it took more. Around 2002 or so, the comedian and talk-show personality Rosie O’Donnell stirred up a big media fuss against laws in the state of Florida that kept gay persons from becoming foster or adoptive parents.

We’ve never seen any of O’Donnell’s shows, but she made a difference for us. Before …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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