12 y.o. Daniel writes a letter to Justice Roberts about gay marriage

Twelve-year old Daniel Martinez-Leffew, who is adopted, heard the news the other day about Supreme Court Justice John Roberts having two adopted kids, and decided that he wanted to write a letter to Justice Roberts before next week’s Prop 8 / DOMA oral arguments about the gay marriage issue.

Daniel, his sister, and his two dads live in Northern California. So Prop 8 – that repealed the right of gay couples to marry in that state in 2008 – directly affect him and his family.

As an aside, the gay news is exploding today.  There are a number of stories I still have to write, so excuse me, and indulge me, if the blog is a bit gayer than normal (and it’s normally quite gay).  These are interesting times.


Daniel and his dad, Bryan. Judging by Bryan’s shirt, it’s an interesting question as to just whose hundreds of Star Wars toys those are in the background.

Daniel and his sister are adopted, and Daniel was struck by the similarity of his situation (being one of two adopted kids) and Justice Roberts’ two adopted kids.  He wanted to tell Roberts that “my family is just as valuable and worthwhile as any other.”

One thing that’s particularly striking about Daniel’s letter is that he talks about the fact that he has a genetic disorder, Goldenhar Syndrome, that affects the entire left side of his body (watching the video, it almost appears as if Daniel is recovering from a stroke).  He explains:

“We were adopted when I was five, and my sister was about 12 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.”

It’s a story that’s been mostly forgotten as the AIDS crisis has faded from the news (even though it’s still a crisis), but in the 1990s, it was gay couples who were adopting HIV+ kids.  For the most part, no one else wanted them, so gay couples stepped in.  When straight couples said “no way,” gay couples said “family.”

Here’s Daniel’s letter to Chief Justice Roberts. I think at one point, when Daniel’s dad says he hopes the letter gets there before they make their decision, Daniel appears to say “that would suck” if it didn’t. It’s too cute. And don’t worry, Daniel, while the oral arguments are next week, the decision won’t come down for two or three months, so there’s ample time.  Your letter will get there.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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55 Responses to “12 y.o. Daniel writes a letter to Justice Roberts about gay marriage”

  1. BeccaM says:

    You need to connect with reality.

  2. gfd6754 says:

    I can hear the sad music score playing in the background. The media has a way of painting a false picture. Of course, that statement is an understatement and drives at the core of the main purpose for media to begin with. To control our culture politically. It has nothing to do with right and wrong. But everything to do with promoting a single agenda. In this case, the gay agenda.

    Our youth are being dumbed down and misled by modernism. Historical facts are being covered up completely. They do not know anything about the effects of gaydom on society going back thousands of years. This pushing of “family” values with gay couples seems sensible to today’s youth. They don’t know any better. They are being sold on propaganda and rhetoric. A celebrity could promote faggism and a thousand kids would support it regardless of the consequence. That’s today’s generation. No principles.

    Like my many forefathers, I prefer to interrogate the information. Sleep on it. Then interrogate it some more. I want to be sure. Why? Because that’s how much I love my kids, your kids, and future generations. While fags are parading naked in the streets, demanding rights, I am trying to set a good example for my kids. Even if I thought I was being cheated by our governments I wouldnt dance naked in the street to get attention. But fags certainly do. Oh wait, the government DOES cheat me and you everyday. But I live with it. I accept it. As long as I can stand for what is right for children. Forget about me. It’s all for them. But fags stand for themselves first and foremost. They don’t care if children see their parades. They will conquer and corrupt the world if it will promote their agenda. They will take the risk and french kiss one another in public just to prove something. Again, they don’t care if children are around. I would smack a man and woman who french kiss in front of my kids. There is a such thing as public indecency regardless of who you are. it doesn’t matter what the law books say. Politics do not reflect right and wrong. But the moral code that has been built upon over thousands of years DOES reflect right and wrong. And I follow it. I teach my kids to show the conviction that I do. I don’t care if someone wants to live their life as a queer. But I do care if they want to advertise it. There is something called humility in this world. I have seen no modesty with gays. They fall right in line with porn lovers.

  3. Badgerite says:

    Brilliant! These kids and their families and what their families mean to them are one of the best arguments that the plaintiffs can make. For my money, the state has to show why they have a right to treat these families differently. As second class. And any one of the multiple Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh marriages as first class. Go ahead. Make my day!

  4. Ninong says:

    Yes, you’re right. I must have been thinking of Matt Cain when I typed the last name.

  5. arcadesproject says:

    This video would touch Roberts’ heart, if Roberts had a heart. Alas, he’s the Tin Man. Without the Tin Man’s charm.

  6. caphillprof says:

    There were also white gay couples adopting African-American children as the supply outstripped the demand.

  7. Randy says:

    Some one needs to explain to me how anyone anywhere benefit by keeping his dads unmarried.

  8. Mary O'Grady says:

    Old lady Wagner used to hold forth about what a marvelous whistler the Fuhrer was.

  9. Mary O'Grady says:

    That was Herb Caen.
    (I am the Proofreader from Hell.)

  10. Ninong says:

    Or, if you lived in San Francisco at the time, you could just read Armistead Maupin, Herb Cain or Randy Shilts. Cain was straight but his daily column covered everything, especially if it was gossipy. The other two were openly gay, but Shilts wasn’t hired until the early 1980’s.
    Actually, you didn’t really have to read them, you just had to be there. Reading them was just to see who would be mentioned.

  11. BeccaM says:

    The part I found fascinating was how SecDef Robert McNamara was attempting to micromanage the Navy blockade and in doing so nearly caused the whole crisis to spiral out of control.

  12. Butch1 says:

    Excellent! Justice Roberts needs to see more videos and letters just like this one to know that OUR families do exist and are real families and are normal families. We need to be treated equally and normally as well. We also need to be recognized on a national level so no more of this “state by state” nonsense. Let’s get this over with and make it official and just get rid of DOMA once and for all!

  13. BeccaM says:

    I know what you mean. Officially sanctioned church/state slavery. Incredible.

    My wife is older than I am, and she’s often said to me, “If you think things have changed a lot since you were born, you have NO idea.”

  14. Ninong says:

    During the 10 days or more of the Cuban Missile Crisis, we, the TV viewers, didn’t know what Kennedy knew or what Krushchev knew about the capabilities of each other’s positions. We only knew that Kennedy was ordering several divisions to South Florida in preparation for an expected invasion of Cuba. We also knew that many people in this country, especially Cuban refugees in Miami, wanted such an invasion.

    We were watching every evening when the news came on for updates on the exact position of that last Russian ship to find out if it had changed course or if it was still headed for the blockade. That ship was reportedly carrying arms for Cuba and we knew that if we boarded it all hell would break lose in Europe, probably Berlin.

    It was only many years later that we learned that the mighty Red Army was an illusion. They were ill-equiped, poorly trained and junior enlisted (conscripts) were subjected to unimaginable conditions by senior enlisted. The same was true of the Soviet Navy. I have a good friend, who is now an American citizen for the past 25 years, who served in the Soviet Navy in the 1970’s. The stories he can tell.

    They blew all of their resources on their over-sized military at the expense of their economy.

  15. Ninong says:

    The last punitive castration carried out by the Catholic Church was reportedly done in the 1950’s!!! Isn’t it amazing what records were uncovered once the authorities gained access to whatever files hadn’t already been shredded. Archbishop Emeritus Rembert Weakland reportedly shredded all of the archdiocese of Milwaukee’s files on clerical sex abuse during the later years of his reign (1977-2002). He was typical of some of the self-hating scumbags in the RCC who said one thing and did another.

    Benedict freaked out when the authorities seized some of the church files in Belgium a few years back as part of their criminal investigation of coverups by the Catholic Church there. Then there was the Ireland fiasco! Boy, what an eye-opener that was for some people, especially the Irish.

  16. BeccaM says:

    Notice something? These gay- and lesbian-headed families being debated, as to whether they qualify for equal protection under the law, already exist. Regardless what the Supreme Court decides, this family will continue to exist. The only question is whether they will continue to be discriminated against by our supposedly civil (i.e., non-religious) government.

    Daniel and his sister have two dads, who clearly love them very much. All they — and we — are asking for is the same civil rights, recognition and societal support hetero couples can get on demand, even while drunk at 4am in Las Vegas at a chapel where they can get married by an Elvis impersonator.

  17. BeccaM says:

    Off-topic: A great historical analysis, and a real eye-opener for me, of the Cuban Missile Crisis is in the book “Essence of Decision” by Graham Allison and Philip Zelikow. I had it as a textbook for a college class and it impressed me so much, it’s one of just a few I’ve kept since then.


    But anyway, you’re right, so many nowadays have no idea how it was in society and in our shared culture as recently as 3-4 decades ago for LGBT Americans, a term that didn’t even exist back then.

    The specious anti-gay assertion we hear from the bigots that being gay means one can reasonably be suspected of being a pedophile didn’t come out of nowhere. Hell, it wasn’t all that long ago that homosexuality was listed in the DSM-II as a diagnosed mental illness, with recommended treatments that went as far as castration for males and involuntary institutionalization for females — removed in 1973 and considered an extremely controversial change at the time.

  18. good eyes! I was so excited to see it I didn’t even notice until you mentioned it.

  19. S1AMER says:


  20. Ninong says:

    I lived in The City in the ’70’s and ’80’s before moving to the suburbs in the early 90’s and I resented the media coverage that concentrated almost exclusively on what I can only assume was the typical straight image of gay people. That’s why I resented the first Gay Pride Parades, and really, really disliked Folsom Street Fair, because they epitomized that over-the-top flamboyant image and reinforced it in the minds of a lot of straight people.

    Then there was all the sensational coverage of gay baths in the early ’80’s after the emergence of AIDS, which they did not yet fully understand. Remember all the ruckus over closure? The Chronicle decided it was their duty to report in detail exactly what happens at gay baths and bookstores, much to the horror of some straights. That was a difficult time, especially because of all the friends and acquaintances you would lose to AIDS. People were dropping like flies and you never knew who would be next. I knew some people who refused to get tested because they didn’t want to know their status. That was really dumb!

    I didn’t live in the Castro. I lived in a different area of town. The one you make fun of all the time — Pacific Heights. But don’t worry, I didn’t like those bars either, although I did go to a couple of them maybe half a dozen times in the late ’70’s or early ’80’s.

  21. BeccaM says:

    The action figures still in their boxes is a bit of a giveaway, huh? ;-)

  22. BeccaM says:

    There are a number of stories relating how Adolph himself was great with kids.

    As long as they weren’t Jewish. Or Romani. Or gay.

  23. karmanot says:

    True, the Goebbels were happy family values types.

  24. 2patricius2 says:

    I know what you mean about those years when we were too busy to put down so many things. What you might want to do is to find what universities or historical societies would want your materials and make them available to others, and to make sure someone you know and trust will get them to the university or society if you die before you have a chance to do so yourself.

  25. karmanot says:

    Wrote epic histories like ‘Hawaii’

  26. Drew2u says:

    sorry, who?

  27. karmanot says:

    I feel that way looking at documentaries on life as it was in the Castro. Where attractive people are dusted off and given soliloquies on the wonderfulness of it all. I lived at 19th and Castro and do not recognize that A-gay vision of how fabulous it was.

  28. karmanot says:

    We need a gay Mitchener.

  29. karmanot says:

    You are absolutely right! The real history is written by power, and conquerors. The true history lies in letters, diaries, journals and similar vehicles. I’ve kept a journal archive going back fifty years and hope some gay archive collection, library or university might be interested. Oddly, it doesn’t contain much on the plague, because like many, we were to busy in the field nursing the sick and dying. Only later in poems and short stories did that horror, terror, anger and grief come forth.

  30. karmanot says:

    What sick bullshit. Shame on you.

  31. nicho says:

    Now, if only corporatists like Roberts gave a sweet fuck about any families other than their own.

  32. jabbadeus says:

    From the logo on the wall and the toys, that looks like just the Galactic Empire stuff. I bet there’s another wall with Rebel Alliance toys. Lucky kids (in more ways than one).

  33. Vicky says:

    I’m pretty sure that most, if not all, of the Star Wars paraphernalia belongs to the two dads!

  34. Drew2u says:

    Look at Ninong’s reply, I would be far from qualified to pen such volumes! I would hope a psychologist that could explain the context of everything on all sides would take up that challenge.

  35. Anything by Randy Shilts. And The Band Played On is great for younger folks who missed out on the fun of the AIDS crisis.

  36. BeccaM says:

    Not just HIV+ kids, but disabled, troubled, and hard-to-place kids in general.


  37. tomtallis says:

    For more on the Leffew family, they’re the subject of a documentary called “The Right to Love” which is most definitely worth watching. Here’s the preview: http://youtu.be/RclFT71GmVc

  38. wlfsng1013 says:

    Good for you Daniel, in finding similarities and building on them. Kudos to your dads for raising such an awesome young man!

  39. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Maybe you’re the guy who can write that all encompassing history. I suspect it will have to be written in volumes. One of the books that opened my eyes is Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s: A Gay Life in the 1940s. It is written about just one bar in St. Paul, Minnesota, but I’m sure that similar stories could be told about many cities. It made me very glad I wasn’t around in the 40s.

  40. 2patricius2 says:

    I had a teacher in college who said that history is what’s left behind in attics and trunks. So we have some things that people who wrote left behind. Writing is fairly recent in human history. And only educated classes wrote. Lots of writings were thrown away or lost. We dig to find other remnants of past civilizations. Many educated people don’t write things down. If a people’s story is not written down or recorded in tape or some other form, it is as though that people never existed. Conquerers often throw away or destroy the histories of those they vanquish. One of the best things going on is the oral histories that LGBT people are collecting in some places. Maybe some of the people reading this blog are collecting such histories or can collect the histories of the people they know and/or can write down or otherwise record their own stories for those who come after us. The more scraps of history we have in whatever form, the more complete a story that can be pieced together.

  41. Ninong says:

    What I have noticed is that history is often written decades later by those who weren’t even alive during the events they’re writing about. I’m not necessarily talking about gay history, just history in general. For example, I was surprised at some of the comments in articles that appeared last October during the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. You can’t really appreciate that event without having lived through it and it was clear from some of the comments that the authors had no clue.

    Dana Perino, George W. Bush’s last White House Press Secretary, famously admitted that she thought the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs were the same event. We can add that to her admission that she wouldn’t recognize the difference between an aircraft carrier and a destroyer if you showed her a picture.

    Even recent history, like San Francisco pre-AIDS, seems to be written by youngsters who have no clue what they’re writing about. It’s hard for some people to imagine that there was a time before Gay Pride Parades or the Folsom Street Fair. In my mind, those are recent events. Then I see articles about the Deep South pre-Brown v. Board of Education and I wonder where these people are coming from. The same can be said about gay history of the same period. Back when headlines in major newspapers would use the phrase “sexual deviants” in reference to gay people, even when talking about an unspeakable tragedy. Unless you read the papers and watched the TV coverage as it happened, it’s hard to appreciate the Upstairs Lounge fire that killed 32 “queers” four decades ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UpStairs_Lounge_arson_attack

    Whenever there was a raid on what we would now call a “gay bar,” the newspapers would be sure to print the names of all those arrested, even if the charges were later dropped. Often the police would tip off the papers in advance so that they could have photographers there to record the event. Later, after the invention of television, they invited TV coverage. It was their way of suppressing the immoral degenerates and keeping them in the closet.

  42. Puddymas Bunny says:

    Randy Shilts wrote that.

  43. Tim says:

    Conduct Unbecoming by Randy Shilts

  44. Tim says:

    I learned a lot from these two books:

    Perfect Enemies
    The Religious Right, the Gay Movement, and the Politics of the 1990s
    By John Gallagher and Chris Bull

    The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk by Randy Shilts

  45. Seeing and hearing awesome kids like Daniel makes me not quite so cynical about the future of America…

  46. If that’s his star wars collection. I”m jealous!

  47. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0061965502/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0061965502&linkCode=as2&tag=americablog-20

    Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution [Hardcover]Linda Hirshman (Author)

    A modern take from a friend who includes a good section on the gay Netroots, so the modern stuff too.

  48. Jim says:

    What an outstanding young man!

  49. Randy Shilts

  50. Indigo says:

    Very sweet!

  51. Drew2u says:

    I wanted to write “macrocosm” instead of comprehensive, initially. I do believe there are plenty of historical writings about very specific instances such as Milk or Stonewall, but I don’t know about what has been written in an overarching historic context. As for perspectives, that is what good journalism and good historians are for ;)
    I heard some quote just recently about time travel (from The Master, maybe?), that one may be scared of traveling in the past because of the lens we put on it, that actual events may not be so romantic than we are led to believe. History should not be propaganda.
    On that note, I would hope the HRC would use its powee to donate any such book to the clubs/organizations that I mentioned, previously.

  52. Blogvader says:

    I’d highly recommend ‘Conduct Unbecoming’. (Can’t remember the author offhand.) It’s a history of gays in the US military.

  53. I’m asking around about the gay history book suggestions. It’s funny, even reading the stuff that’s been written about the DADT battle these past few years, you realize what they mean by “history is written by the victors.” It’s more complicated than that. History is written by those who write the history, and they can only recount what they know. They miss a lot of stuff because they don’t know what they don’t know. So the “history” that folks remember is only a part of what happened, and maybe even a skewed telling of it. HRC will have quite a different version of what happened during the DADT battle than we, for example, would.

  54. I know. It kind of sucks because gay history has been written about the 80s and some recent history, but it’s amazing, working on “history” as it were, to see how much actual history goes down the memory hole, so to speak. Unless you write it down, it goes away. But yeah, I remember in the early and mid 90s the number of gay couples who were adopting HIV positive kids. And I remember my friends working on AIDS issues at the time talking about the absurdity of Republicans always trying to ban gay adoption when for some of these kids, we were all they had.

  55. Drew2u says:

    As a late-20s gay man, it’s news to me about HIV+ kids being adopted by gay couples in the 1990s.
    Again, I would love to see a comprehensive history of gay people up to this point. Are there book recommendations that fit the criteria and are those books available to GSA clubs or PFLAG chapters?

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