Families come in all shapes and sizes but have one thing in common: love. As the March 26-27 hearing dates near for the legal challenges to Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Washington Post observes that the families of the Supreme Court justices themselves exemplify the diverse American family:
There’s a widow who was a pioneer of the “modern marriage” and someone who never wed. Two divorcees.
There is a husband who married relatively late in life and adopted two children. Another is a prolific procreator, with enough children to field a baseball team and enough grandchildren to form a basketball league.
One is in an interracial marriage, which would have been illegal in his state only 20 years before his wedding.
It was the mention of the adoptive parent, Chief Justice John Roberts, that captured the attention of Daniel Martinez-Leffew. Daniel, a 12-year-old boy from California, had been told by foster care officials that he was unadoptable because he has a congenital defect. But that didn’t stop his dads Jay and Bryan from adopting Daniel and his sister into their loving family seven years ago.
When Daniel learned that Justice Roberts and his wife Jane have also adopted two children, he reached out with this video letter:
DANIEL & DAD: Hey YouTube!
DAD: As everybody knows, Prop 8 is going to be coming up before the Supreme Court soon. Oral arguments begin on the 26th, I believe. And we discovered some very interesting things about one of the judges that’ll be hearing the case.
Justice John Roberts has two adopted children of his own.
DAD: And when Daniel and Salina heard that, they thought hey, their family’s just like ours. So Daniel took it upon himself — and I was very proud of him for doing this — to write a letter to Justice Roberts expressing how he feels about being not only adopted, but a part of a family with two dads. So I’m going to let Daniel…
DANIEL: ‘S up.
DAD: …read this to you.
DANIEL: Dear Justice Roberts,
My name is Daniel Martinez-Leffew. I’m 12 years old and I live in northern California. I have a younger sister named Salina, and we were adopted by two dads. We were adopted when I was five and my sister was about twelve months old.
When I was in foster care I was told that I was considered unadoptable because of my Goldenhar syndrome. That is a genetic disorder that affects the whole left side of my body.
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.
I recently found out that you yourself adopted two kids, a boy and a girl, kind of like me and my sister.
Family means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but some people believe that you have to have the same blood to be a family. 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. My dad Jay works in San Francisco as a deputy sheriff, and my dad Bryan stays at home and takes care of me and my sister.
My dads really encourage me to excel in life. Since I want to be a cook when I grow up, they’re letting me take cooking classes. My parents want me to improve, whether it’s schoolwork, or my social life.
I know you have a tough decision to make with the gay marriage issue, but my family is just as valuable and worthwhile as any other.
It’s especially tough for you because I know you don’t necessarily believe in gay marriage religiously. Lucky for us, though, you also don’t believe in taking away a right, even from people like us.
My family and I have spent the last four years making YouTube videos to show people who don’t understand that our family is like any other. If Prop 8 is allowed to stand, imagine the pain we would feel knowing that we are not considered equal to everyone else.
I guess to end this, it is important that all families are protected and valued. In our country we may not all be the same, but we are all Americans and deserve an equal chance at bettering our lives.
I hope you make the right decision in the end.
DAD: So, thank you Daniel. That was a super awesome letter, and I want to let you know that I was very proud of you for offering to write it. We’re going to put it in the mail to Justice Roberts. Hopefully it’ll make it there before they make their decision. We know that this is a big event that can really effect our family. So here’s crossing our fingers, keeping our prayers out there and hoping for the best.
DANIEL & DAD: Bye, YouTube.