by Jasmin Singer
Two gay flamingos were desperate to start a family. Couple Carlos and Fernando were famous at their wildlife reserve in Bristol for attempting to chase fellow flamingos from their nests in order to claim the egg as their own. So when a nest was recently abandoned, the two love-birds were given the motherless egg to rear. Since even male flamingos can feed their chick by producing milk in their throats, and homosexuality is very common with some wild birds, gay parenting is hardly as taboo amongst this exotic species than with the arguably less-exotic (and less-accepting) human one. Carlos and Fernando have been together for six years now—over 219 times longer than the highly-publicized marriage of Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman!
Meanwhile, back in the scary states, my friend Nate, a Unitarian Universalist minister, was well on his way to adopting his first baby. Nate was on the last leg of the adoption process and had been told he was an "ideal candidate" for single-father adoption. One of the last questions the review committee asked Nate was how he envisioned his wedding. He was a bit perplexed at this and said that he’d probably have to confer with whomever was to be his husband. At the mention of "husband" followed by an awkward silence, Nate was told he "did not meet the state’s definition of family." The woman who had just been nodding and grinning in approval now was grasping the cross around her neck, and suddenly wouldn’t look Nate in the eye.
Why can gay flamingos be accepted and embraced in their community, but Nate cannot? The human ego, when mixed with certain outdated biblical folklore, can be a dangerous combination. Just ask the gay rams in Oregon who are being cut open and chemically induced with the purpose of making them behave in a heterosexual manner.
It seems to me the non-human animals are shining examples of living truthfully and with pride. Nearly all bonobos, for example, the great apes whose DNA nearly mirrors that of humans, exhibit bisexual behavior. They have been deemed the "make-love-not-war" primate, due mainly to their inclination to use sex as a means to resolve conflict. Bonobos are proud and peaceful animals (they are also vegan!), and the idea of quelling one’s sexual identification or behavior is probably laughable to them, as it is to many of us.