supporting marriage equality I don’t talk about marriage equality too much because I’m about helping LGBTQ youth find acceptance and understanding in their own homes.

But the fact remains I’ve been a passionate advocate for marriage equality. As a parent of an LGBTQ youth, how does supporting marriage equality help your child? The most basic way it helps is to let your child know that it’s okay to be LGBRQ. It lets them know you want them to be happy and believe they have the same rights as everyone else. It states you believe they can have a spouse and a family.

Suppose your child is not LGBTQ, or perhaps you suspect they are. When you share with them your supportive views of marriage equality, you are letting the questioning child know you are okay with their being LGBTQ. It lets your straight child know that you take a stand for equality for all people, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.

What if you’re a parent who believes marriage is between one man and one woman? What message does that give to your LGBTQ or questioning child? You are telling them they do not and should not have the same rights you enjoy – the right to find your one true love, commit to them for a lifetime and have the same rights and privileges you enjoy as a married couple. You are telling them they are less than, not worthy of that kind of relationship. They may internalize it as rejection. Even mild rejection increases the risk of attempted suicide and drug use among LGBTQ youth.

What message do you want to give your LGBTQ child? Do you want them to feel loved and accepted or demoralized and rejected? It’s up to you.