A Maryland family was surprised to find itself in the news last week after their children were featured in the November/December issue of "American Girl" magazine.
What’s the big issue? The family has two dads.
The magazine features 11-year-old Amaya Scheer and her three siblings. Scheer discusses her family’s charity, Comfort Cases, which provides foster children with travel bags filled with toiletries and clothing. She, her father Rob Scheer, and her siblings all lived in foster care at one time.
Conservative website OneMillionMoms.com took issue. The group wants its supporters to cancel their subscriptions to the magazine, to stop buying American Girl products, and to boycott parent company Mattel.
In a post on their site, the organization cautions parents to shield their impressionable young children from the disappointing portrayal of sin: "Scripture says multiple times that homosexuality is wrong, and God will not tolerate this sinful nature… 'American Girl' is attempting to desensitize our youth by featuring a family with two dads."
I understand having conservative beliefs. It’s everyone’s right to worship who and how they like. But it’s not everyone’s right to push hate and intolerance. These former foster kids have a family. They appear happy and healthy, and they’re getting an education in diversity, which is necessary if they’re to succeed in this increasingly diverse world that we live in. Further, their family is working to make other foster kids lives better through their charity. All of that has been eclipsed by negativity and anti-gay motivated harassment.
The family has also gotten quite a bit of support. Rob Scheer said in an interview that “On Sunday, our congregation all stood to say that they loved us, they support us and that we are just like any other family. That’s the only thing we ask for. We don't ask for any kind of special rights,” he said. “Don't treat us any differently, just realize that we’re just like everybody else.”
I didn’t read the American Girl article, but based on several pieces I read about the incident, the focus of the feature is not race or LGBT issues. As Shonda Rhimes would say, they’re “normalizing” these things rather than highlighting them in a diversity context, which is as it should be.
However nontraditional the Scheers might be, this family just wants to be left alone to be family. Shouldn’t they be allowed to do that?