2 Dads, 2 Daughters, 1 Big Day
by Frank Bruni
Even in a city as diverse as New York and a neighborhood as progressive as the West Village, a little kid knows that having two dads is different. Eight-year-old Maeve certainly did.
She knew, too, that the world didn’t see her family exactly the way it saw others. Her dads, Jonathan Mintz and John Feinblatt, could tell.
“She understood that there was something, for lack of a better word, second-class about her family,” Mintz said.
And, as she wrestled with that, her frustration was distilled in a question that she and then her sister, Georgia, 6, began to ask more and more often.
Why aren’t you two married like our friends’ parents?
For a long time Mintz and Feinblatt avoided an answer because, while they didn’t want to lie, they also didn’t want to focus their daughters’ attention on the blunt truth: that New York, like most states, forbade it. So they perfected stalling tactics, asking Maeve and Georgia if they thought a wedding would be fun and whether they envisioned being flower girls and on and on. Anything to keep the conversation happy and the girls from feeling left out.
On Sunday, their family will be at center stage. The first same-sex weddings will take place in New York, and Mintz and Feinblatt are saying their vows at Gracie Mansion, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a longtime friend, will officiate.
And while the two men are thrilled for themselves, it’s on behalf of their daughters, who will indeed carry bouquets and stand with them and the mayor, that they’re positively ecstatic. The men care deeply that the girls feel fully integrated into society and see it as just. Sunday’s ceremony goes a long way toward that.
Outside New York there’s less cause for celebration: Twenty-nine states with constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage and plenty of people who interpret a formal validation of same-sex relationships as an assault on “family values.”
So I invite you to look at the values of the Mintz-Feinblatt family. They do, too. That’s why they let me drop in on them twice this week and will have reporters at their wedding.
today in new york: joy, normalcy, equality
Today in New York City, some families will celebrate their love and commitment, because the law has finally caught up with reality.