Redefining Marriage Hurts Women Like Me

HomoFlagby Janna Darnelle   9/29/14
Every time a new state redefines marriage, the news is full of happy stories of gay and lesbian couples and their new families. But behind those big smiles and sunny photographs are other, more painful stories. These are left to secret, dark places. They are suppressed, and those who would tell them are silenced in the name of “marriage equality.”

But I refuse to be silent.

I represent one of those real life stories that are kept in the shadows. I have personally felt the pain and devastation wrought by the propaganda that destroys natural families.

The Divorce

In the fall of 2007, my husband of almost ten years told me that he was gay and that he wanted a divorce. In an instant, the world that I had known and loved—the life we had built together—was shattered.

I tried to convince him to stay, to stick it out and fight to save our marriage. But my voice, my desires, my needs—and those of our two young children—no longer mattered to him. We had become disposable, because he had embraced one tiny word that had become his entire identity. Being gay trumped commitment, vows, responsibility, faith, fatherhood, marriage, friendships, and community. All of this was thrown away for the sake of his new identity.

Try as I might to save our marriage, there was no stopping my husband. Our divorce was not settled in mediation or with lawyers. No, it went all the way to trial. My husband wanted primary custody of our children. His entire case can be summed up in one sentence: “I am gay, and I deserve my rights.” It worked: the judge gave him practically everything he wanted. At one point, he even told my husband, “If you had asked for more, I would have given it to you.”

I truly believe that judge was legislating from the bench, disregarding the facts of our particular case and simply using us—using our children— to help influence future cases. In our society, LGBT citizens are seen as marginalized victims who must be protected at all costs, even if it means stripping rights from others. By ignoring the injustice committed against me and my children, the judge seemed to think that he was correcting a larger injustice.

My husband had left us for his gay lover. They make more money than I do. There are two of them and only one of me. Even so, the judge believed that they were the victims. No matter what I said or did, I didn’t have a chance of saving our children from being bounced around like so many pieces of luggage.

A New Same-Sex Family—Built On the Ruins of Mine

My ex-husband and his partner went on to marry. Their first ceremony took place before our state redefined marriage. After it created same-sex marriage, they chose to have a repeat performance. In both cases, my children were forced—against my will and theirs—to participate. At the second ceremony, which included more than twenty couples, local news stations and papers were there to document the first gay weddings officiated in our state. USA Today did a photo journal shoot on my ex and his partner, my children, and even the grandparents. I was not notified that this was taking place, nor was I given a voice to object to our children being used as props to promote same-sex marriage in the media.

At the time of the first ceremony, the marriage was not recognized by our state, our nation, or our church. And my ex-husband’s new marriage, like the majority of male-male relationships, is an “open,” non-exclusive relationship. This sends a clear message to our children: what you feel trumps all laws, promises, and higher authorities. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want—and it doesn’t matter who you hurt along the way.

After our children’s pictures were publicized, a flood of comments and posts appeared. Commenters exclaimed at how beautiful this gay family was and congratulated my ex-husband and his new partner on the family that they “created.” But there is a significant person missing from those pictures: the mother and abandoned wife. That “gay family” could not exist without me.

There is not one gay family that exists in this world that was created naturally.

Every same-sex family can only exist by manipulating nature. Behind the happy façade of many families headed by same-sex couples, we see relationships that are built from brokenness. They represent covenants broken, love abandoned, and responsibilities crushed. They are built on betrayal, lies, and deep wounds.

This is also true of same-sex couples who use assisted reproductive technologies such as surrogacy or sperm donation to have children. Such processes exploit men and women for their reproductive potential, treat children as products to be bought and sold, and purposely deny children a relationship with one or both of their biological parents. Wholeness and balance cannot be found in such families, because something is always missing. am missing. But I am real, and I represent hundreds upon thousands of spouses who have been betrayed and rejected.

If my husband had chosen to stay, I know that things wouldn’t have been easy. But that is what marriage is about: making a vow and choosing to live it out, day after day. In sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, spouses must choose to put the other person first, loving them even when it’s hard.

A good marriage doesn’t only depend on sexual desire, which can come and go and is often out of our control. It depends on choosing to love, honor, and be faithful to one person, forsaking all others. It is common for spouses to be attracted to other people—usually of the opposite sex, but sometimes of the same sex. Spouses who value their marriage do not act on those impulses. For those who find themselves attracted to people of the same sex, staying faithful to their opposite-sex spouse isn’t a betrayal of their true identity. Rather, it’s a decision not to let themselves be ruled by their passions. It shows depth and strength of character when such people remain true to their vows, consciously striving to remember, honor, and revive the love they had for their spouses when they first married.

My Children Deserve Better

Our two young children were willfully and intentionally thrust into a world of strife and combative beliefs, lifestyles, and values, all in the name of “gay rights.” Their father moved into his new partner’s condo, which is in a complex inhabited by sixteen gay men. One of the men has a 19-year-old male prostitute who comes to service him. Another man, who functions as the father figure of this community, is in his late sixties and has a boyfriend in his twenties. My children are brought to gay parties where they are the only children and where only alcoholic beverages are served. They are taken to transgender baseball games, gay rights fundraisers, and LGBT film festivals.

Both of my children face identity issues, just like other children. Yet there are certain deep and unique problems that they will face as a direct result of my former husband’s actions. My son is now a maturing teen, and he is very interested in girls. But how will he learn how to deal with that interest when he is surrounded by men who seek sexual gratification from other men? How will he learn to treat girls with care and respect when his father has rejected them and devalues them? How will he embrace his developing masculinity without seeing his father live out authentic manhood by treating his wife and family with love, honoring his marriage vows even when it’s hard?

My daughter suffers too. She needs a dad who will encourage her to embrace her femininity and beauty, but these qualities are parodied and distorted in her father’s world. Her dad wears make-up and sex bondage straps for Halloween. She is often exposed to men dressing as women. The walls in his condo are adorned with large framed pictures of women in provocative positions. What is my little girl to believe about her own femininity and beauty? Her father should be protecting her sexuality. Instead, he is warping it.

Without the guidance of both their mother and their father, how can my children navigate their developing identities and sexuality? I ache to see my children struggle, desperately trying to make sense of their world.

My children and I have suffered great losses because of my former husband’s decision to identify as a gay man and throw away his life with us. Time is revealing the depth of those wounds, but I will not allow them to destroy me and my children. I refuse to lose my faith and hope. I believe so much more passionately in the power of the marriage covenant between one man and one woman today than when I was married. There is another way for those with same-sex attractions. Destruction is not the only option—it cannot be. Our children deserve far better from us.

This type of devastation should never happen to another spouse or child. Please, I plead with you: defend marriage as being between one man and one woman. We must stand for marriage—and for the precious lives that marriage creates.

(This article originally appeared in Public Discourse: Ethics, Law, and the Common Good, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton, NJ. Reprinted with permission.)


Janna Darnelle is a mother, writer, and an advocate for upholding marriage between one man and one woman. She mentors others whose families have been impacted by homosexuality. • (1677 views)

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27 Responses to Redefining Marriage Hurts Women Like Me

  1. Glenn Fairman says:

    That made me ill…..

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    This sort of issue has come up previously. I seem to recall that a New Jersey governor who abandoned his wife for a homosexual lover was criticized (by those with moral codes, of course, which excludes liberal ideologues) for abandoning his family. And I definitely recall this came up when the Episcopalian “church” (they no longer truly qualify, though individual churches still do) named a homosexual as Bishop of New Hampshire — ignoring his betrayal of his original family. I will say that it’s probably rare to have a blatantly bigoted judge handle the case, but there are such judges (we have a few on SCOTUS, unfortunately including Anthony Kennedy).

    I will add that the abandoned spouse can be a man whose wife reveals herself as a lesbian as well. (Fredric Brown once did something like that in one of his short “Nightmare” stories, involving a man who’s planning to tell his wife that he’s running off with their maid — only to be forestalled when she tells him she is.)

  3. R.E. says:

    Janna, I sympathize with you, no one could have written this account better.
    I am sorry, but my opinion is that the pendulum is still swinging away from decent morals is our country. I fear that the U.S. will never be the same morally that it was. Not that perversion sexual and otherwise has not been happening for hundreds of years because it has. We have been defrauded by our elected politicians and judges. How the tiny number of gays in America have been able to have such influence is beyond my simple mind. I am more than afraid for the future of our country, I am terrified for our future. I and my wife had two fantastic daughters that have given us three GRANDchildren whom I love more than words can say. Had we known what today and the future was going to be I would have begged her for us to be childless. I love my offspring enough to not inflict them with the moral decay of today and tomorrow. There is no undoing yesterday.

    • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

      How “the tiny number of gays” has managed to have such an outsized influence is probably beyond the scope of Darnell’s article, but I will summarize it for you as your question is an important one:

      1. Most of these gays fall into the “useful idiot” category, along with the straights who parrot nonsense about marriage “equality” (even former Solicitor General Ted Olson fell for this rot). They are the tools of the political Left, which wants to destroy marriage because of the institution’s importance in maintaining our society.

      2. Conservatives did not mount the best possible arguments against gay “marriage,” and the Republican Party, under the control of the Establishment, had no desire to fight on intellectual grounds but only reflexively opposed SSM. By leaving the Left’s arguments unanswered, they have gradually (over the past 20 years) been losing the way they always do: by default.

      3. Gays don’t control the schools and the media, but the Left does, and given the absence of meaningful opposition (see #2 above) they have been successful in persuading young people that real marriage is somehow an example of invidious discrimination.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          I’ve been waiting for the normalization of pedophilia, but who knows where the liberal rejection of sexual morality will lead next? (Sharyn McCrumb had a case in one of her novels of a woman deciding to marry a beloved dolphin, with tragic results for her.)

        • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

          And of course this step is a logical one in descent: both polygamy and incestuous marriages will have to be legal if the logic of gay “marriage” is followed. Possibly we can hold the line at pedophilia and bestiality, even though there are already Left/Libertarian elements out there advocating for both of these, because the Left is more interested in destroying marriage than advocating for the “rights” of pedophiles. Thus the Left would probably stop once it has destroyed marriage, although it’s also possible it wouldn’t stand up to it’s crazier factions out of disinterest.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Anti-polygamy laws are probably doomed, and given the German news incest will probably be legalized shortly afterward. After all, the genetic argument is something easily mocked (by Planned Parenthood types who secretly — and sometimes not so secretly, as Darth Bader Ginsburg recently reminded us — favor eugenics), though the possibility that it can lead to intra-family abuse may hold it off for a bit.

      • Misanthropette says:

        Let’s not forget Libertarian culpability in social engineering for the Left. I distinctly remember the three hedge fund managers (Mssrs. Asness, Loeb and Singer) with their billions beckoning the Republicans of the NY legislature to pass same sex marriage. That wasn’t the Left. It was greedy, unprincipled Republicans and misguided, arrogant and presumptuous rich idiots.

        Please don’t use their language. We should insist on proper terms here: homosexuals or sodomites. Take your pick.

  4. Anniel says:

    Reading this breaks my heart on many levels. The author, her poor children, a man who gave away his soul, and a judge who also has no soul. What have we become? I wish I knew.

    • Misanthropette says:

      I beg you and others not to frame this so broadly. It isn’t “we” who have lost our way, it is “they”. They, meaning a very tiny but wealthy and powerful minority, have co-opted our language, culture, and values. They have attempted to rewrite our history in their language. They have misrepresented their goal and their values to the majority. Such deception is typical when no other strategy exists to win the day.

      I still believe, and all studies and polls bear this out, that the majority do not share their perspective and do not want what they want. That is why we feel such outrage and grief for the Janna Darnells of the world.

      I shall not concede. I shall never concede one point to them. Don’t you concede either, none of you.

  5. Rosalys says:

    Man! Is this country ripe for judgement or what? This makes me want to vomit!

    Janna, I will be praying for you and your two children, that they will survive this abuse – and that is what it is, state sanctioned, nay, state directed child abuse! – and that God will use the example of this vile cesspool of a society that we have become to His own purpose and for the furtherance of His kingdom.

    Whatever you devise against the Lord,
    He will make a complete end of it. – Nahum 1:9

  6. David Ray says:

    It hasn’t escaped my notice that queer-pride parades are a nauseating freak show. They’re far removed from normal parades. (Amsterdam ones being the worst.)

    It also hasn’t escaped that former queers tend to marry former lesbians. (Must upset queers to be confronted with the obvious . . . that they’ve arrived by self indulgent choice (not genetics); though according to Romans 1, an indirect choice.)

  7. NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

    Heartbreaking story which reminds us not only of the evils of SSM, but also of no-fault divorce (what grounds did Darnelle’s husband have for divorce, other than wanting out of the marriage so he could engage in sexual indulgence?). I was struck also by Darnell’s description of the environment in which her children are now being raised. How far our laws have sunk to consider these self-indulgent gay surroundings as being suitable for children! Only Leftism (and Libertarianism) could approve of it.

  8. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    This is expanding freedom according to the Libertarians and Leftists pushing for homosexual marriage.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/389429/couple-faces-bankruptcy-refusing-violate-their-conscience-maggie-gallagher

    Contrary to what these Libertarians and Leftists claim about expanding freedom by pushing for homosexual marriage, this is what actually happens. When put on the balance, do you think freedom is expanded or curtailed?

    Once again, homosexual marriage is not about freedom, it is about destroying the culture of this country. It is about bending normal people to the will of the Homo-Nazi Weltanschauung.

    That it tickles the moral vanity of a few of those vapid purveyors of moral relativism so unsure of their culture, is just icing on the cake.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I noticed that Stossel recently discussed the anti-choice policies in both parties. One he mentioned was that Republicans want to “ban” homosexual marriage. He carefully failed to consider that the actual issue is state recognition of them, not actually banning them. And he ignored the question of people who run small businesses being forced to take part in a rite they reject on religious grounds. Stossel has his good points, but also a very large blind spot. But then, he is a libertarian, so that’s to be expected.

    • Misanthropette says:

      A libertarian is simply a conservative stripped of any moral compass.

  9. Misanthropette says:

    Dearest Janna,

    I cry for you, your children, your family and all families dealing with the atrocity called “same sex marriage” and LGBT “rights”. This is not the first such account I have read, but it is the best. Your essay presents perhaps the most perspicacious account of the invisible victim in all same sex marriages and families…the children. It’s obvious in order for homosexuals (they’re NOT gay) to perpetuate their lifestyles, they must have fresh victims and who is more readily available than children?

    Let’s not get into the statistics illustrating just how lacking in joy or peace these individuals are; they have the highest rates of recreational drug use, domestic violence, promiscuity and suicide rates of any societal group. Sexuality is a gift from God. When it is misused and becomes sin, how could it bring anything but grief and consequences like any other sin? Sadly, the easy divorce culture, then abortion, and a catastrophic moral collapse have led here.

    Thank you for your courage and honesty. God grant you, your children, and your former husband the strength needed to overcome the evil which has been perpetrated on in the name of Equality.

  10. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Finally, an honest, sane court ruling on homosexual marriage which follows common law and tradition.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/bench-memos/390895/strong-ruling-favor-puerto-ricos-marriage-laws-ed-whelan

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Very good. Someone actually pointed out that those seeking to overturn long-held tradition (there has never been homosexual marriage, not even among the hemophilic ancient Greeks, until around 20 years ago) should be the ones who have to make a conclusive case for change. Unfortunately, even a number of conservatives (such as Ted Olson and Richard Posner) have fallen for this. I hope this forces SCOTUS to confront the issue of whether they will impose their own amorality on the public regardless of voter intentions. And then maybe we can start rolling back the legal preference for perversion over religion.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Where gay marriage exists, religious freedom gradually disappears. Obama has said that he will not meddle with the sacraments of churches. But even that weak assurance can’t be taken seriously, since the Left will surely use indirect pressure on such churches over time, denying them public benefits and ostracizing them until they perform gay weddings.

        The above quote is from an article in today’s American Spectator. This is another honest observation regarding what actually happens when the Leftist program to destroy our culture takes hold.

        And while one can strongly disagree with the Leftists who are pushing their destructive agenda, it is clear that they clearly understand what they are doing and what their goals are.

        But what is to be made of the Libertarians’ claim that homosexual marriage is all about spreading liberty? The most likely explanation is that many who claim to be Libertarians are actually left-wingers and the rest are clueless libertines whose thinking processes have apparently been damaged from smoking too much dope.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          But what is to be made of the Libertarians’ claim that homosexual marriage is all about spreading liberty? The most likely explanation is that many who claim to be Libertarians are actually left-wingers and the rest are clueless libertines whose thinking processes have apparently been damaged from smoking too much dope.

          Without a doubt, Mr. Kung. And more than a few have little clue what Libertarianism stands for and substitute their own nicey-nicey version.

          .767

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Obama can easily promise not to meddle with the churches; he’ll only be around 2 more years. But what about the next Democrat (whoever and whenever it is)? For that matter, how long will it be before his appointees decide to sacrifice freedom of religion to the “right” to perversion?

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            For over two hundred years, the Left has been out to crush religion. Religion and the family are the biggest roadblocks to the realization of the Left’s earthy paradise.

            The link below is to a piece about how the State of California is now forcing churches to fund abortion, regardless their religious beliefs.

            http://www.nationalreview.com/bench-memos/390898/california-orders-churches-fund-abortion-ed-whelan

            Is this part of the expansion of liberty which the fool Libertarians are talking about?

            Why is it these zombies cannot differentiate between large and small, fundamental and incidental impediments upon liberty?

            Might it be that they are actually only concerned with impediments which interfere with their libertine lifestyles and couldn’t care less if other rights disappear?

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