My parents took my leaving the religious Jewish life style very badly. At first there was a lot of crying, screaming and some nasty things were said. For about a year and a half after I told them, things were very awkward between us. They kept me in their lives because they loved me, but they were terrified that any of their friends might find out that I was not religious. So while I knew they loved me (and they told me this often), I also felt that they were embarrassed by me and ashamed of me.
After this difficult and harsh reaction, I expected the worse when I told them I was gay. But my parents surprised me. While this news was very hard for them to handle, they knew that it was not something they could change and that since they wanted me in their life, they would have to figure out a way to live with me being gay. And today, I am happy to say that my relationship with my parents is better than it has been in years. We get along well and are able to spend a lot of time together. Not everything is perfect. They obviously still do not want their friends and our extended family to know that I am not religious or that I am gay, but I have made my peace with that issue. It is their problem, not mine. But all in all, for the first time in years, I feel comfortable and no longer out of place when I am with my parents.
The one subject that seems to get me very uncomfortable and pretty upset when talking with my parents is actually the US presidential elections. My parents are hardcore Republicans. They believe Obama is utter evil and his election would mean "the end of democracy in America". While I am no fan of Obama and cannot imagine that I would ever vote for him, I could also never vote for Romney and the Republicans. How could I vote for people that campaign on hate? How could I vote for someone that supports amending the US Constitution with a homophobic clause?
I know that you all must be thinking, "just don't talk politics". But the politics are just the microcosm. What really hurts me is that my parents can support someone that says I should NEVER be able to marry who I love (FYI, Romney is also against civil unions). I really hope that one day I will be lucky enough to find a guy that loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me and that I love him and want to spend the rest of my life with him. It hurts to know that my parents would not want to see any such relationship recognized at marriage. It hurts to know that they would want that written into the law. It is beyond my understanding how my parents can love me as much as they do and still support such a law. I cannot fathom how millions of people around the country that I have never met, could be fighting for my (and of course millions of other's) right to marry and my own parents that love me would be against it.
I know my parents are Orthodox Jews and that Orthodox Judaism will never recognize gay marriage. Frankly, I do not care. If you believe in some bronze age book of myths and rules that cannot change, that is your right. But the government does not work off that book. The US government is suppose to be about freedom and equality before the law. So just like my parents would recognize any man and woman they know as civilly married if some judge said it was so, I would hope they could do the same for me. But that is not the case. Any love that me and some guy might share someday, will never be good enough in my parents eyes to receive the title "marriage" and I do not understand why.