Gay Penguins

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A controversial bill, now moving through the state Legislature, seems to be ruffling some conservative feathers. Measure SB48 would require teaching California school children about the contributions to society made by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other minority Americans.

A parent who opposes the bill recently complained that his kindergarten daughter learned in school about two gay penguins who nurtured an egg in New York’s Central Park Zoo. He said that, "When you start at the age of five and six teaching these children about gender preferences, you’re confusing them."

Really. I have a great-niece who is six. Recently, I showed her some pictures, including one of my wife.

"That’s Rebecca," I said.

"I know," replied she. "You guys are married. My dad told me."


Later, I asked her dad about that. He said he told his daughter that men can marry men and women can marry women, as long as they love each other. Basically, he told her that love, not gender, defines a family. And that dispelled any confusion my great-niece might have had about gender preferences.

Here’s what is confusing: telling kids that only men and women make a legitimate couple or that only males, females and their biological babies make a legitimate family. In their towns and cities, in zoos, in parks, on television, kids see other ways of living.

I doubt that Roy and Silo, the two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo, had a homosexual agenda in mind when they incubated an abandoned egg and raised the resulting baby together. I do know that they are not the first or only male penguins to couple up. And I must admit, I enjoy picturing a contingent of their species waddling down Fifth Avenue for New York's Gay Pride Parade.

The conservative parent I mentioned earlier probably wouldn't be amused. He already finds the notion of same-sex coupling offensive, and that’s his loss. Society is made up of more than straight, white, able-bodied people. Teaching this man's daughter  -- or any child -- about the incredible contributions made by all sectors would be a great step in their education.

With a perspective, I'm Linda Gebroe.