groundhogs and politics

February’s holidays encompass the entire spectrum of being an LGBT
parent. Right at the center is Valentine’s Day, honoring love in
all its varied forms. It is already used as the focal point of
Freedom to Marry
. After that comes President’s Day, given extra meaning
this year as presidential candidates spring up like colds in a
preschool. It reminds us of the political undercurrent that is
never far from the surface of our lives, as courts and legislators
make decisions that affect our families’ legal relationships and
rights. All of February is, of course, Black History Month, and the
chance to remember that the LGBT-rights movement is only one in a
long sweep of such movements in American history.

Leading off the month, however, is Groundhog Day. This is a minor
holiday, as they go, with no day off, no gift giving, and no
presidential proclamations. It is one of those small bits of
American tradition carefully instilled in our youth and useless
since. Still, as parents, we pass the tradition on to our own
children, and take the opportunity each year to remember our
childhoods, when we first learned about the power of a furry rodent
to predict the weather.

Love, politics, civil rights, and parenting. February has them all,
packed into the shortest month of the year. Likewise, these
subjects fill our lives. It is as impossible to separate them as it
is to remove a holiday from February and still consider it the same
month. This is one of the reasons Mary Cheney has caused so much
debate with her demand
that her child not be used as a political tool. She is doing what
any parent would – trying to protect her child from being used by
others – but she is also trying, at least publicly, to keep
separate her parenting and her politics. For most LGBT parents,
that is an impossible task. Not that we had children for political
reasons – and in that, I agree with Mary – but LGBT parenting is
political because it is being debated in statehouses and
courthouses across the country, regardless of our personal
motivations. We rail at Mary Cheney because she is attempting to do
what we would all desperately like to do: stop our families from

being used by politicians to win elections

For LGBT parents, however, at this point in history, love,
politics, civil rights and parenting are too intertwined to
separate. Rather than waste our energy wishing things were
otherwise, let us do the opposite, and work to integrate those
elements into a stronger whole. A parenting driven by pride in our
families and a willingness to stand up for them will help us raise
children who are confident, courageous citizens. And a politics
driven by the love of our children and our desire to ensure their
civil rights has a passion behind it that can take it far; farther,
perhaps, than a politics driven by a sense of privilege and

Dana Rudolph is the founder and
publisher of Mombian (, a blog and resource directory for LGBT parents.
She lives with her partner and their three-year-old